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1. The Classics on the Date of Zoroaster. 

ONE of tlie greatest, yet at the same time most shadowy, 
figures in the history of the earlier religion of the world, 
is that of Zoroaster the Magian, to whom aftertimes have 
united in ascribing high and mysterious doctrine in com- 
bination with occult and wondrous lore. His actual historical 
existence was not doubted by the Greek and Latin writers, but 
the time when he lived was only conjectured* Thus, Agathias, 
writing about A.D. 576, observes that the Persians in his day 
stated that Zoroaster lived in the time of Hystaspes, who, by 
a not unnatural error, was regarded as identical with the father 

of the first Darius ; and the historian adds that whenever he 
lived he was the Persian prophet and ' ' master of the magic 
rites."* Pliny has preserved several traditional incidents 
connected with Zoroaster, such as praise of a mysterious 
stone called Astriotes, " the Star-like ; "f that he laughed on 
the day of his birth, J a circumstance which those who connect 
him with natural phenomena would probably regard as indi- 
cating the joyousness of the bright heaven or the dread exult- 
ation of the thunder-god ; and that he lived on cheese with 
great austerity for twenty years,|| a statement which reminds 
us of the traditional and mythical austerities of Hindu saints 
and divinities. After referring to the general consent of authori- 
ties that he was the inventor of magic, which Pliny judiciously 
observes was doubtless originally connected with the healing 
art, the Roman writer states that Eudoxos and Aristotle placed 
Zoroaster 6,000 years before the time of Plato ; whilst Her- 
mippos the philosopher, B.C. 250, who, of all the Greeks, most 
deeply studied Zoroastrianism, and who wrote a work upon it, 
now lost, entitled Peri Magon, placed the age of Zoroaster 
5,000 years before the Trojan War.^f With this date Plutarch, 
in, perhaps, his most valuable tractate, agrees when referring 
to " Zoroastris the Magian."** Masudi, the Arabian historian, 
A.D. 950, assigns Zoroaster a date about B.C. 600, a compu- 
tation probably connected with the view that places him in the 
period of the later Hystaspes. From these different opinions 
we gain at least one important fact, that in comparatively late 
times the people of the country in or near which he was said 
to have lived still connected him with an Hystaspes (Vish- 
taspa), who, in reality, was the Kava Vishtaspa, a friend of 
Zoroaster, who is mentioned in the Gdthas. 

2. The name " Magian" 

The name "magian," whence magic and magician, occurs 
in both our Testaments. In the Old, the Rab-mag, or chief 
magian, is mentioned amongst the Babylonian princes of 
Nebuchadnezzar at Jerusalem ;+t whilst in the New it is 
recorded that magians (fidjot) came to worship the infant 
Jesus. Jt In both cases the term implies not merely "wise 
men/' but special experts belonging to a particular country. 
What, then, is the derivation and meaning of the word, which 

* Hist ii. 24. f Hist. Nat. xxxvii. 49. J Ibid. vii. 15. 

Of. Shelley, The Cloud : " I laugh as I pass in thunder." 
|| Hist. Nat. xi. 96. f Ibid. xxx. 1, 2. ** Peri Is. Jcai Os. xlvi. 

ft Jeremiah xxxix. 3. tt St. Matthew ii. 1. 

is certainly not Semitic ? The Aryan and Turanian families 
of language have both claimed it. Thus, according to Haug 
and others, the term ' ' magava " signifies one possessed of 
maga, or power, i.e., spiritual or occult power; and the 
Magavas were the earliest followers of Zoroaster. Maghavan, 
' ' the possessor of riches/' is a common epithet of the Yedic 
Indra, and is also occasionally applied to Agni, the igneous 
principle. On the other hand, Sir H. C. Rawlinson and 
M. Lenormant regard Magism as non-Aryan in origin, but 
engrafted with an Aryan religion.* In this case the word 
must be Proto-Medic or Scythic, i.e. Turanian ; and I should 
be inclined to connect it with the Akkadian mach, "very 
high/' ' ' supreme/' Thus, in an Akkadian hymn,f translated 
by M. Lenormant, we read ana zae mach men, " God, thou art 
very .high."J Whether, therefore, the term be of Aryan or 
Turanian origin, it signifies almost equally one exalted by the 
possession of wealth, of knowledge, or of power. 

3. Is Zoroaster an historical Personage ? His Name. 

According to Sir H. C. Rawlinson, Zoroaster was " the per- 
sonification of the old heresionym of the Scythic race." 
Zara-thushtra or thustra, the Persian and Parsi Zardosht, the 
Greek Zarastrades, Zoroastres or Zoroastris, in his theory is 
Zera-ishtar,|| or "the seed of Istaru," the celebrated Assyrian 
goddess^] of love, war, and the planet Venus, the zodiacal 
Virgo, and whose two phases, Istar of Nineveh and Istar of 
Arbela, reappear together in the Phenician (plural) divinity 
Ashtaroth, the Greek Astarte. M. Darmesteter, who regards 
Zoroaster as one of the many bright powers of heaven who 
fight in an almost endless strife against the powers of dark- 
ness and evil, observes, " The meaning of the name of Zara- 
thustra is unknown. It is no fault of etymologies ; one can 
count a score, and here is a twenty-first." And he proceeds 
to trace it to a form zarat-vat, corresponding to the Vedic 
Jtarit-vat, which signifies " He-who-has-the-red (horses)/' i.e. 
the sun. Zarat-vat would thus mean "red," or ' ' gold 

* Vide Canon Eawlinson, Herodotus, i. 346, et seq. ; Ancient Monarchies 
ii. 348 ; Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, 218. 

f Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, ir. 60. 

j Etude sur quelques parties des Syllabaires Cuneiformes, 12. 

Notes on the Early History of Babylonia, 41 ; vide also Canon Rawlinson, 
Herodotus, i . 350. 

|| Assyrian, Ziru ; Heb. jnj. 

^f Istaru means "goddess" (vide Geo. Smith, Chaldean Account of 
Genesis, 58). 

B 2 

colour/' " and the entire name would be simply one of the 
thousand epithets of the bright hero"* of the material 
heaven. Haug, again, connects the name with the Sanskrit 
jaratj " old," and uttara-ushtra, " excellent " ; and points out 
that the superlative form Zarathushtrotemo, "the highest 
Zarathustra," assumes the existence of several contem- 
poraneous Zarathustras, which term would thus mean 
" senior, chief (in a spiritual sense), as the word 'Dastur'f 
does now."J Haug is perfectly convinced of the actual 
historical existence of Zoroaster, and regards the Gdthas 
(subsequently noticed) as really containing " the sayings and 
teaching of the great founder of the Parsi religion himself." 
He also points out that the sage's real or family name was 
Spitama, and that, according to the Pahlavi books, a Spitama 
was the ancestor of Zarathustra in the ninth generation. The 
word Spitama was erroneously rendered by Burnouf " holy," 
in which he has been followed by later writers ; and the sage's 
full title would thus be " the Spitaman," or " Spitama, the 
spiritual chief." Although it may for a moment appear some- 
what paradoxical, yet the question of the actual historical 
existence of an individual Zoroaster but little affects the 
present investigation; for, just as we might have had Islamism 
and the Koran without a particular Muhammed, or have (as 
many think) an Ilias and an Odysseia without a particular 
Homer, so the existence of the Avesta and the Parsi religion is 
altogether independent of that of a particular Zoroaster; 
and yet, so far as my own individual opinion is concerned, I 
certainly agree with Haug and with Mr. Yaux, when he 
declares, in his excellent little History of Persia, " I do not 
doubt that Zoroaster was truly a teacher and reformer, and, 
further, that his religious views represent the reaction of the 
mind against the mere worship of nature, tending, as this 
does directly, to polytheism and to the doctrine of Emana- 
tions. It is, I think, equally evident that such views embody 
the highest struggle of the human intellect (unaided by Reve- 
lation) towards spiritualism [i.e. a truly spiritual religion] , and 
that they are, so far, an attempt to create a religious system 
by the simple energies of human reason. Hence, their gene- 
ral direction is towards a pure monotheism." || 

* Ormazd et Ahriman, 194, note 1. 
t The Dasturs are the present priests of the Parsis. 
Essays on the Parsis, 296-7. Edited by Dr. West. 1878. 
Ibid. 146. 

|| History of Persia, 10. (In the series of Ancient History from the 

4. Further Classical References to Zoroaster. 

Ere turning to purely Oriental ground, a few other classical 
allusions to Zoroaster may be mentioned. According to Plato, 
in Persia it was usual to commit the heir-apparent to the cus- 
tody of four chosen men, the first of whom instructed " him in 
the magianism of Zoroaster, the son of Oromasus, which is the 
worship of the gods."* Here the sage is described as the son 
of his divinity, the Parsi Ormazd, the Achaemenian Aura- 
mazda, the Zoroastrian Ahuramazda. Berosus makes Zoroaster 
a king of Babylon and the founder of a dynasty of seven Chal- 
dean monarchs,f a complete error ; whilst Justin, copying the 
statement of Ktesias, court physician to Artaxerxes Mnemon, 
has preserved the tradition that " Ninus, king of the Assy- 
rians, who first made war upon his neighbours/' made " his 
last war with Zoroaster, king of the Bactrians, who is said to 
have been the first that invented magic arts, and to have inves- 
tigated with great attention the origin of the world and the 
motions of the stars. "J According to Justin, Ninus, who is 
a personification of the Akkadian Nin, 'Lord' or 'Lady/ 
killed Zoroaster. With this tradition Arnobius is in exact 
accordance, and asserts that " between the Assyrians and 
Bactrians, under the leadership of Ninus, and Zoroaster of old, 
a struggle was maintained not only by the sword and by phy- 
sical power, but also by magicians [on the Bactrian side], and 
by the mysterious learning of the Chaldeans " on the Assy- 
rian. Here Zoroaster is placed in his true abode, Bakhdhi 
(Baktria), and the tradition is doubtless founded upon facts 
and refers to great prehistoric contests between Aryan, Tura- 
nian and Semite. In another passage, || Arnobius sneers at 
some statement of Hermippos to the effect that " the Magian 
Zoroaster " had crossed a mysterious fiery zone ; and legends 
existed which described him as appearing to a multitude "from 
a hill blazing with fire, that he might teach them new cere- 
monies of worship."^]" Clement of Alexandria observes that 
Pythagoras showed that " Zoroaster the Magus " was a Per^ 
sian,** and identifies him ft with " Er, the son of Arminius," 
who, according to the story in Plato, JJ having been slain in 
battle, came to life again and related to his friends the destiny 
of the soul and its journey after death. The legendary con- 

* Alcibiades, i. apud Jowett, The Dialogues of Plato, ii. 472. 

t Chaldaika, ii. Fragment, 9. 

Hist. i. 1. So Moses of Chorene, i. 6. 

| Arnobius, Adversus Gentes, i. 5. || Ibid. i. 52. 

^T Bryce, Arnobius adversus Gentes, 43, note 2. 

** Stromateis,i. 15. ft Ibid. v. 14. It Republic, x. 

nection of such, matters with Zoroaster is interesting. Am mi- 
anus Marcellinus observes that " Plato, that greatest authority 
upon famous doctrines, states that the Magiau religion, or 
Magia, known by the mystic name of Machagistia, is the most 
uncorrupted form of worship in things divine, to the philosophy 
of which, in primitive ages, Zoroastres, a Bactrian, made many 
additions drawn from the mysteries of the Chaldeans."* In 
later classical times many clumsy forgeries were attributed to 
Zoroaster, as to such personages as Orpheus (the Sanskrit 
Eibhu) and Hermes-Trismegistos (Tet-Thoth, i.e. Thought or 
Intellect) ; and there is still extant a work entitled Magika 
Logia ton apo tou Zoroastrou Mag on. The younger Psellus, 
A.D. 1020 1105, amongst his numerous writings composed 
scholia on Zoroastrian literature, and gives as a Zoroastrian 
saying the dictum that 

" The soul, being a bright fire, by the power of the Father, 
Remains immortal and is mistress of life."t 

And, lastly, Ficinus, who died' A.D. 1499, and who wrote a 
work entitled De Immortalitate Animi, states that, according to 
Zoroaster, certain aquatic and aerial demons " are sometimes 
seen by acute eyes, especially in Persia/'{ It would be inter- 
esting to fully analyze and compare the above and other clas- 
sical and mediaeval statements with Zoroaster and Magism as 
revealed to us by modern discovery ; suffice it, however, to 
observe here, that on the whole Zoroaster is described as an 
eminent Baktrian, possessed of mysterious wisdom in matters 
both physical and spiritual, engaged in contests with neigh- 
bouring nations, the author of various occult works, versed in 
the law connected with demons and the destiny of the soul, 
closely associated with the reverential or mystical use of fire, 
connected in the legend of Er, with a resurrection or revival, 
and the son of Ahuramazda. His 'magic or wisdom appears as 
a combination of both Baktrian and Chaldean lore, and its mys- 
tic name, Mach-agistia, at once reminds us of the Akkadian 
root machj " very-high/' to which I have ventured to refer 

* Ammianus, xxiii, 6. 

f M^x?) Trvp dvvafiti Trarpbg ovffa tfraeivbv, 

AQdvCtTOQ Tf. fJif.Vf.lj KOI o/77 dfffTTOTlG EOT I. 

t Apud Cory, Ancient Fragments, 255. 

Souidas calls Zoroastres an astronomer in the time of Ninos, who 
wished to be destroyed by fire from heaven, and warned the Assyrians to 
preserve his ashes. He mentions another Zoroastres, whom he styles a 
Perso-Median sage, who first established the Magian polity and lived 500 
years before the Trojan war, perhaps the most reasonable date given by any 

5. Iranian Sacred Literature. 

Such being the testimony of classical antiquity respecting 
Zoroaster the Magian, let us next consider him and his religion 
as they now stand revealed in the sacred books of Iran, trans- 
lated, or I may rather say in many parts deciphered, by the 
genius and persevering efforts of Burnouf, Spiegel, Haug, and 
their several followers. The protagonist in this great work 
was the Frenchman Anquetil Duperron, whose name must never 
be forgotten in the history of Zoroastrian literature ; arriving 
at Bombay in 1 754, he first revealed to Europeans the treasures 
of the Avesta. The greater part of the sacred writings of Iran 
has been lost, but judging by those of other countries, and from 
the testimony of historians, we may well believe that they were 
at one time of vast extent. Haug quotes the statement of Abu 
Jafir Attavari, an Arabian historian, that " Zoroaster's writ- 
ings covered 1,200 cowhides (parchments) ;"* and Hermippos 
estimated the verses of the sage at no less than 2,000,000.f 
According to the best tradition, which is supported by the 
sacred writings now in existence and by other references to 
many of the lost works, the entire canon once consisted of 
twenty-one books, called Nasks, the Visparad and the Yasna. 
The word nask is non-Aryan, and is connected by Haug with 
the Assyrian nusku. Now the Assyrian and Babylonian divinity 
Nabu (Nebo), the god of intellect, prophecy, and writing, is also 
known as Nusku - } but Nusku, or rather Nuzku, was originally 
a distinct Akkadian divinity, whose name signified "the High " 
or "the height of heaven." J Hence these sacred books, the 
nasks, purport to be named after the god of the height of hea- 
ven, lord of intellect and writing. The Vendidad forms the 

classical writer. He assigns several works on Nature, Astrology, and other 
subjects to this Zoroaster. He also mentions a third personage, Zoromasdres, 
whom he calls a Chaldean and a writer on mathematics and physics. In 
masdres we have apparently the second part of the name Ahuramazda, 
which, if we accept the derivation from ziru, " seed," would give " Son of 
Mazda " as the meaning of the name, which would thus exactly agree with 
the statement of Plato that Zoroaster was " the son of Oromasus." The 
three personages mentioned by Souidas are doubtless identical. Diogenes 
Laertius says, " From the time of the Magi, the first of whom was Zoroaster 
the Persian, to that of the fall of Troy, Hermodorus, the Platonic philosopher, 
calculates that 15,000 years elapsed. But Xanthos the Lydian [B.C. 470] 
says that the passage of the Hellespont by Xerxes took place 6,000 years 
after the time of Zoroaster " (Peri Bion, introduction, ii.). 

* Essays on the Parsis, 123. 

t " Hermippus qui de tota ea arte diligentissime scripsit, et vicies centum 
millia versuum a Zoroastre condita, indicibus quoque voluminum ejus 
positis explanavit." (Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxx. 2.) 

t Vide Lenormant, Etude, 325. 


19th Nask. The Avesta-Zend in Pahlavi (i.e. ancient Persian), 
Avistdk va zand, or "Text and Commentary/'' consists of (1) 
The Yasna, or " Book of Sacrifice with Prayers." (2) The 
Visparad, or "All Heads/' a collection of prayers. (3) The 
Vendidad (Vidaeva-data), or " Law against the Devas/'* con- 
tained in twenty-two Fargards or chapters ; and (4) The Khur- 
dah- Avesta, or " Little Avesta," which consists of Prayers and 
Yashts, or " Invocations." The Yasna may be compared in 
point of priority and importance to the Rig- Veda of the Indian 
Aryans and the Pentateuch. It consists of (1) the Five Gdthas, 
or " Songs," which form the most archaic portion of the Avesta; 
(2) the Yasna of Seven Has, or " Sections," written in the 
Gatha dialect; and (3) the Later Yasna , which is written in 
the ordinary language of the Avesta. Haug traces the form 
avistdk "to a + vista (p.p. of vid, 'to know'), with the mean- 
ing ( what is known/ or ' knowledge/ corresponding nearly 
with Veda."1{ The text of the Avesta, as we have it, probably 
belongs to the reign of Ardashir I., who in A.D. 226 put an 
end to the Parthian dynasty of Askh (Arsakes) and became 
the founder of the Sassanids. This monarch made every effort 
to restore the national religion, which, although tolerated, had 
necessarily become much depressed beneath five centuries and 

f a half of Greek and Parthian rule. The efforts of Ardashir were 
successful; the old sacred writings and traditions were collected, 
and although many of them have been subsequently lost, yet 
a most important residuum has been preserved to the present 
day by the Parsis, who left their country for India on the 
Muhammedan conquest of Persia A.D. 650. The great anti- 
quity of the writings collected by Ardashir is evident, as, 
amongst other reasons, in his time " the language of the 
Avesta had long ceased to be spoken, and the contemporaries 
of Ardashir could no more have composed a chapter of the 
Vendidad than an English gentleman of this century could 
imitate the Anglo-Saxon of King Alfred." J As to date of 
composition, the Gdthas and the Earlier Yasna may be fairly 

/placed some time prior to B.C. 1200; the greater portion of 
the Vendidad cir. B.C. 1,000; the Visparad and Later Yasna 
cir. B.C. 900-800 ; whilst the Yashts may be placed down to 
cir. B.C. 400. In addition to the foregoing archaic works, 
there is extant an extensive Pahlavi literature, using that term 
to denote the language of Persia during the Sassanian dynasty, 
A.D. 226-641. Two Pahlavi works in particular may be men- 

* Vide inf. sec. 10. t Essays, 121. 

J Bleeck, Avesta, introduction, xi. 


tioned, the Dinkard and the Bundahish or ' Cosmogony/ The 
former consisted of nine books, the first two of which are lost ; 
and contains, amongst other things, the opinions of ancient 
Zoroastrians on traditions and customs and on various duties ; 
the miracles of the Zoroastrian religion from the time of the 
first man to that of the last of the yet future prophets ; details 
of the life of Zoroaster and an account of the contents of the 
twenty-one Nasks, great part of which were destroyed in the 
time of " the accursed Alexander," at which period there were, 
according to the Dinkard, but two complete copies of the 
sacred books; one of these then deposited in the royal archives 
at Persepolis was burnt there. The Bundahish contains an 
account of the creation, of the opposition between the good 
and evil powers, of the nature of the various creatures, and of 
the future destiny of mankind, including the Resurrection and 
the Last Judgment. The two latter remarkable features are, in 
Haug's opinion, ' ' founded on original Avesta sources which 
are now lost."* An ancient song is embodied in the account 
of the Eesurrection, the burden of which is that although it may 
appear to man to be impossible that the body when resolved 
into its elements and scattered to the winds should nevertheless 
be raised again, yet that to God all things are possible. So, 
too, the archaic Egyptians held firmly the doctrine of the resur- 
rection of the body,f a dogma in after-ages to provoke the 
laughter of the Greek, mirth melancholy to the true philosopher, 
since it sprang from perhaps the most pronounced and at the 
same time the saddest feature in his character, an intense and 
passionate clinging to this perishing earth life. Achilles, the 
Greek ideal, has fitly been made the mouthpiece for that dark 
sentiment : 

" Bather I'd choose laboriously to bear 
A weight of woes, and breathe the vital air, 
A slave to some poor hind that toils for bread, 
Than reign the sceptered monarch of the dead." 

Far different from the gloomy Homeric abode of the departed 
was the paradise of song if that awaited the justified soul of 
the deceased Zoroastrian. 

* Essays, 313. 

t Vide Bunsen, Egypt's Place, iv. 641 ; Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, 84. 
And authorities cited. 

t Heaven is called Garodemdna, " House of Hymns," and Ahu vahishta, 
" the best life." As is well known, paradise (pairidaeza), i.e. ^ enclosure" a 
place securely fenced in, is an Iranian word. si& 



6. Mythology and Religion. 

Such, then, are the Parsi Scriptures; their composition 
extended over 800 or 900 years or more, and thus, like the 
Vedic Hymns, they are the work of numerous individuals ; 
and whilst possessing a kind of general unity of tone, on close 
examination are found to differ widely in style and religious 
standpoint as in language. The latest portion of the Avesta 
is replete with archaic ideas of a mythological character, a 
feature which applies equally to subsequent works, such as 
the Bundahish; whilst in the Yasna, and especially in the 
Gdthas, the mythological element is but dimly visible, and 
the religious element is all-important. And here let 
me make a remark respecting the spheres of mythology 
and religion. The former corresponds with the material, the 
latter with the spiritual portion of the universe ; they rise 
together as twin ideas in the human mind, and at the same 
time the mental and the physical eye grasp, however dimly, 
some of the wonders of Grod and the Kosmos, of soul and 
body. Mythology did not spring from religion, nor religion 
from mythology. They were ' ' two sisters of one race," widely 
differing indeed in value, but at first equally simple, equally 
pure. To give an illustration : Prof. Steinthal in The Legend 
of Samson,* remarks, " I flatter myself that I know the par- 
ticle by which was expressed the greatest revolution ever 
experienced in the development of the human mind, or rather 
by which the mind itself was brought into existence (!) It is 
the particle f as' in the verse ' And he [the Sun] is as a 
bridegroom coming out of his chamber ; he rejoices as a hero 
to run his course :' Nature appears to us as a man, as mind, 
but is not man or mind. This is the birth of mind. This 
f as' is unknown not only to the Vedas, but even to the 
Greeks. "f Previously, it would seem, a most gross and 
crude mythology had reigned supreme ; every one regarded 
the sun as an actual bridegroom, a real hero, till one bright 
morning it occurred to the Psalm -writer, a propos of nothing 
in particular, that these expressions were merely similitudes. 
Surely a stupendous credulity must be required to enable any 
one to accept such a theory, which is just as true and as false 
as the appended statement that this wondrous "as" is unknown 
to the Yedic poets. Take, for instance, a hymn to Ushas, 
the Dawn. The hymn- writer, after comparing Ushas to a 
dancer, and to a triumphant maid, continues 

* Appended to Dr. Goldziher's Mythology among the Hebrews. 
t Sec. xiii, 


" As a loving wife shows herself to her husband, 
So does Ushas, as it were, smiling, reveal her form."* 

Here the symbolism and simile of the Yedic poet are as clear 
and pure as the Psalmist's. Both are perfectly aware that 
sun and dawn are alike merely natural phenomena, and, lastly, 
there is no monopoly of the mysterious " as." Steinthal asks, 
" I wonder whether I am mistaken ? " I think we may safely 
reply that he is. Man, by the necessity of his being, applies 
anthropomorphisms to the phenomena of nature; from his 
standpoint the dawn smiles, the thunder shouts or laughs, the 
sun knoweth his going down, and the deep utters his voice 
and lifts up his hands on high. Here is no crude ignorance, 
no grovelling concept, but a rich and splendid vein of natural 
poetry, sublime because and this is the real power of all 
potent thought and beautiful idea it is practically, nay 
strictly, true.f 

7. Character and Contents of the Gdthas. 

To revert to the Gathas : their supreme age and importance 
in the inquiry is evidenced, (1) by the exceedingly archaic 
form of language in which they are composed; (2) by their 
being frequently quoted or referred to with the greatest 
respect in other sacred writings, e.g., they are expressly called 
' ' the five Gdthas of the pure Zarathustra." J (3) By their 
being the repositories of numerous ideas and forms of belief 
which have been subsequently elaborated; and (4) by the 
uniform tradition on the subject. The word is from the root 
gaij " to sing/' and they are composed in a metrical form for 
recitation, each verse of the first containing forty- eight, of 
the second fifty- five, and of the third forty-four syllables. 
Some of the metres naturally greatly resemble those of the 
Vedic Hymns. In quoting from them I use the translation of 
Haug, as that of Spiegel is admittedly inferior, and indeed in 
many passages absolutely unintelligible. The First Gdtha 
bears the following heading, in the ordinary language of the 
Avesta, and therefore added long subsequent to the composi- 
tion of all five : 

"The revealed thought, the revealed word, the revealed 
deed of the righteous Zarathustra; the archangels first 
sang the Gathas." Here it is implied that Zarathustra 

* Rig-Veda, I. cxxiv. 7 (translated by Dr. Muir, Sanskrit Texts, v. 185). 
t " Hold, in high poetic duty, 

Truest Truth the fairest Beauty." 

Mrs. Browning, The Dead Pan. 
J Yasna, Ivi. 3. 


received these sacred songs through angelic agency, and 
hence that he was the human author of them and communi- 
cated them to the world. The triad of though t, word, and 
deed, often appears in the Avesta ; and is used in a somewhat 
technical sense, as meaning the thoughts, words, and deeds 
enjoined by the Zoroastrian faith. Thus in a fragment of the 
Hddokht Nask, which gives an account of the progress after 
death, we find four steps mentioned in the advance of the 
soul. The first step of the righteous he places upon good 
thought, the second upon good word, the third upon good 
deed, and the fourth and last upon the eternal lights. The 
account of the contrary progress of the unrighteous soul is 
lost, except the last clause, "The soul of the wicked man 
fourthly advanced with a step he placed on the eternal 
glooms," a calmly awful saying, which vies in solemnity with 
those of our own Sacred Books. The First Gdtha forms 
chapters xxviii. xxxiv. of the Yasna } and is to some extent 
a compilation of independent verses ; in one place Zara- 
thustra is spoken of in the third person, but as a rule he 
is the speaker throughout. In this Gdtha are chiefly 
noticeable : 

I. The theory of Agriculture as a sacred duty.- 
II. The theory of the Twin Spirits. 

III. The protest against the Devas and their worship. 

In the Second Gdtha we have, in addition to various 
references to the foregoing subjects, 

IV. The view of Ahuramazda as the Creator. 

The last three Gdthas which, on the whole, are not so 
important, also contain similar references, and a very material 
passage which explains Zarathustra's view of the theory of 
the Twin Spirits. These different subjects I shall notice in 

8. Agriculture as a Sacred Duty. 

It is remarked of the state of things prior to the creation of 
human beings, and in a manner indicative of a certain incom- 
pleteness, that " there was not a man to till the ground " ; 
and the subduing of the earth is expressly assigned to the 
human race, not in the first instance as a toil to be accom- 
panied by " sweat of the face," but as a high and sacred duty. 
So in the Greek religious-mythology, Demeter, " the Earth- 
mother," the earth considered in a state of orderly rule and 
cultivation, kosmic not chaotic, is the great patroness of Tri- 
ptolemos and the other noble and nurturing heroes of civiliza- 
tion, who wander over the world, making all men acquainted 


with the blessings and benefits of agriculture.* And here I 
may appropriately notice a link in name between the Aryans, 
Eastern and Western. De-meter, as is well known, is equiva- 
lent to Ge-rueter, " Earth- mother." Now the Sanskrit gdus, 
the equivalent of the Greek ge, signifies (1) cow, and (2) 
earth ; the earth being thus regarded in a secondary sense as 
the fostering cow of mankind, a kind of symbolism in exact 
harmony with the ideas of India, Iran, or Egypt, but which the 
intensely anthropomorphic spirit of the Greek would have 
rejected with disgust. So the Ribhus in the Rig-Veda are 
said to have renovated or cut the cow,f namely, by cultivating 
the soil ; and in this first Gdthctj the Geush urvd, or " Soul of 
the Cow," i.e. the spirit of the personified earth, is repre- 
sented as complaining to heaven, and as being informed by 
Ahuramazda through Zarathustra, that it was to be cut, that 
is, ploughed, for the good of mankind. So Zarathustra, 
apparently addressing a large assemblage, and unfolding his 
doctrines to them, declares : 

' ( I will now tell you who are assembled the wise sayings of 

And the hymns of the Good Spirit. 
You shall hearken to the Geush urva." 

That is, "You shall duly cultivate the earth." And again 
we read of Armaiti, the personification of prayer, and who was 
in Ahuramazda, J that 

" When Thou (Ahuramazda) hast made her paths that she 
might go 

From the tiller of the soil to him who does not culti- 
vate it. 

Of these two (i.e. the agriculturist and the nomad), 

She chose the pious cultivator, 

Whom she blessed with the riches produced by the good 

All that do not till her, but worship the Devas, 

Have no share in her good tidings ; " 

namely, in the blessings of wealth, order, and civilization 
generally. The nomadic life necessarily degenerates; it 

* For a full analysis of the mythic position of Demeter and Persephone 
in connection with the Eleusinian mysteries, vide The Great Dionysiak 
Myth, vol. i. 273, d seq. By the Writer. Longmans & Co. 1877. 

t Vide Eig- Veda, iv. Hymns 33-37. 

t " In Thee was Armaiti (Yasna, xxxi. 9). 

Armaiti is also considered as the angel of the earth, probably because 
prayers, although heaven-inspired, rise from earth. 


becomes by contrast more and more rude and barbarous, 
and is sooner or later associated with lawlessness and rapine. 
There are numerous indications in the Avesta that the Zoro- 
astrians suffered severely from time to time from the violence 
of wilder neighbours, and to promote the more settled and 
orderly life of agriculture thus became a sacred duty. It was 
in fact a form of the contest between chaos and kosmos. 

9. The Zoroastrian Theory of the Twin Spirits. 

Without here noticing the general view respecting Persian, 
Magian, or Zoroastrian dualism, I will at once quote the 
Gdthas, in illustration of the Zoroastrian concept of the Twin 
Spirits : 

' ( In the beginning there was a pair of twins, 
Two spirits, each of a peculiar activity ; 
These are the good and the base, in thought, word, and 


Choose one of these two spirits. Be good, not base ! 
And these two spirits united created the first (i.e. the 

material world) ; 

One the reality, the other the non-reality. 
Of these two spirits you must choose one. 
You cannot belong to both of them." 

Did, then, the composer of this hymn believe in the actual 
objective existence from all eternity of two spirits, one the 
personification of good, the other the personification of evil? 
Certainly not; and why ? Briefly for the following reasons : 

I. Ahuramazda himself is distinctly stated in the Gdthas to 
have created all that is, and is spoken of as " He who created 
by means of his wisdom the good and evil mind in thinking, 
words, and deeds." 

II. These twins, called "the two primeval spirits of the 
world," are styled "the increaser" and "the destroyer." 
This explains the profound Zoroastrian concept ; the twins are 
the two sides of the divine action, like light and darkness ; 
and, as Haug well observes, are " in Ahuramazda." So, in 
another passage of the Yasna, Ahuramazda declares, " The 
more beneficent of my two spirits has produced the whole 
rightful creation."* 

III. In later times, when Ormazd (Ahuramazda) and Ahri- 
man (Angromainyush), the "dark" or "hurtful spirit," had, 
in the general belief of centuries, been pitted against each 
other for ages, the mind, still striving after a primitive unity, 

* Yasna, xix. 9. 


derived them both alike from an imaginary personification 
designated Zarvan-akarana, ' ' Boundless-time," a being un- 
known to the Avesta"* 

IV. The dogma of the eternal existence of evil in the past 
is unknown to any [other archaic religious belief ; and there- 
fore the most stringent proof of the existence of such a creed 
must be furnished ere the fact can be accepted. But no such 
proof can be supplied. 

V. On the other hand, the cause and origin of the later 
Iranian dualism is transparent. The dark spirit of Ahura- 
mazda, the mysterious side of Providence, which shows itself 
objectively in the existence of darkness, evil, pain, injuring 
storms, and noxious creatures, soon naturally enough, and 
indeed, almost inevitably, received in belief a separate 
existence ; and, as its operations were in apparent contradic- 
tion to those of the beneficent God, an imaginary strife arose 
between them, a contest whose physical counterpart had long 
before been known to mythology. 

10. TJie Protest against the Devas and their Worship. 

Zarathustra, like many other great men who have been 
regarded as founders of religions, was essentially a reformer ; 
and whilst undoubtedly claiming to be able to ' f teach the 
way of God more perfectly/' was far from aspiring to the 
invention of a new and superior kind of faith. To compare 
small things with great, any particular religionist who makes 
a mighty effect upon his age resembles, however faintly, the 
Founder of our Faith ; who at once accepted, illuminated, and 
fulfilled all past true religion; protested against the degene- 
racy of the then present religion, and threw a blaze of 
expanding and intensifying splendour upon the religion of 
the future. Even men like Muhammed and Sakya-muni were 
the outcome of terrible corruptions, against which they waged 
war and protested with immense effect, however great may 
have been the subsequent failure of their systems ; and the 
creed of Zarathustra, having as its basis-principle the grand 
truth of monotheism, has survived the vicissitudes of many a 
stormy age, and still proclaims with unshaken fidelity the 
doctrine of the archaic sage.f I will next consider the protest 
of Zarathustra and the Deva-cult. In the Gdthas we read : 

* The passage in which Zarvan-akarana is supposed to be mentioned, 
really reads: "The beneficent spirit made (them) in boundless time" 
(Vendidad, xix. 9), i.e. at some time in past period. 

t " The Parsis are now strict Monotheists ; their one supreme deity is 
Ahuramazda." (Haug, Essays, 53.) 


{ ' Ye Devas have sprung out of the evil spirit 

Who takes possession of you by intoxication. 

You have invented spells, which are applied by the most 
wicked ; 

May the number of the worshippers of the liar (evil spirit) 

What, good ruler Mazda, are the Devas ? 

Those who attack the good existence (i.e. good men, useful 
animals, etc.). 

By whose means the priest and prophet of the idols expose 
the earth to destruction. 

Whoever thinks the idols and all those men besides, 

Who think of mischief only to be base, 

And distinguishes such people from those who think of 
the right, 

His friend or father is Ahuramazda. 

This is the beneficent revelation of the supreme fire- 

Again, he says of ' ' the priests and prophets of idols," that, 

' ' They ought to avoid the bridge of the gatherer ; 
To remain for ever in the dwelling-place of destruction." 

And in the Earlier Yasna we find a formal confession of 
faith : 

" I cease to be a Deva (worshipper). 
I profess to be a Zarathustrian Mazdayasnian (devotee of 


An enemy of the Devas, and a devotee of Ahura ; 
A praiser of the immortal benefactors (i.e. the Ameshas- 

pentas) . 

I forsake the Devas, and those like Devas. 
I praise the Ahuryan religion, which is the best of all that 
are, and that will be." 

As it may be objected, in limine, that the Deva- cult, which 
is admittedly polytheistic in character, was universal in Aryan 
regions until the age of Zarathustra, it may be replied, in 
limine, that Zarathustra no more invented the Ahuryan creed 
than St. Augustine (to take a prominent name) invented the 
Christian. And the evidence is similar in both cases ; for just 
as the Bishop of Hippo speaks with approbation of the faith 
of many of his predecessors, and just as the name of Christ as 
a divine personage and as God, is to be met with centuries 
before his day ; so, we find Zarathustra alluding to ' ' sayings 
of old" revealed "by Ahura,* praising the ancient fire- 

* Yasna. xlvi. 6. 


priests,* and exhorting his adherents to revere the Angra 3 
known in the Vedic Hynins as the Angiras, an ancient race 
or family peculiarly connected with religious rites even before 
the separation of Indian and Iranian; and so also we meet 
with the sacred name Ahura, as applied to the supreme Aryan 
divinity, even before the separation of the Eastern and Western 
branches of the mighty family. Thus the Ahuryan religion, 
the faith of the A ngra- Angiras, was already ancient in Zara- 
thustra's day. Be it also observed that Monotheism does not 
consist, as one might almost suppose from the manner in 
which it is frequently treated, in the negation of the belief in 
the existence of all sentient beings except God and ourselves. 
For, just as we, who are monotheists, accept the existence of 
angelic intelligences, good and evil, and of the souls of the 
dead, holy and unholy ; so Zarathustra may have regarded the 
Devas as actual objective existences, as evil angels or demons, 
without thereby in any degree infringing on his position as 
the champion of monotheism. I am not inquiring what his 
views on the subject were, but merely wish to show that in 
any case they do not affect the general question, inasmuch as 
he certainly did not regard the Devas as true gods. 

11. History of the name Asura : meaning of " Ahuramazda." 

It is one of the greatest triumphs of modern scientific re- 
search to have revealed, by means of historical and philological 
investigation, the primitive unity of the Aryan family, a grand 
fact, which, like all other facts } is in perfect harmony with 
Biblical statement. We now know that there was a time when 
the ancestors of Kelt, Teuton, Slav, Latin, Greek, Iranian, and 
Indian, dwelt together as a single nation. Then came a first 
and great separation, when Iranian and Indian were left 
together, whilst the others, impelled by the old and mys- 
terious law of " Westward Ho," pushed forward into Erebf 

* Vide inf. sees. 30-32. 

t Ereb signifies " the West/' and, similarly, the Arabs are the people in 
the west of Asia. " Erebos " is originally the western glooin after sunset, 
from the Assyrian eribu, "to descend," as the sun. In accordance with this 
circumstance, the Homeric Erebos lies in the west. The cave of Skylle looks 
"towards the west, (i.e.} to Erebos" (Od. xii. 81) ; Odysseus turns towards 
Erebos to sacrifice (Ibid. x. 528), and thence the ghosts assemble (Ibid. xi. 
37). Aides, as King of the Underworld, is called " Hesperos Theos " 
(Sophokles, Oed. Tyr. 177); and a "westward position" was generally 
adopted by the Greeks when invoking infernal divinities (cf. Mitford, 
History of Greece, xxii. 2). The main entrance to Greek temples of gods 



now Europe. After a time came a second separation, when 
the ancestors of the Aryan Indians wandered south-eastwards 
into the Punjab, the region of the five or seven streams.* Now 
the name Ahura, in the form Asura, is one of the most familiar, 
and at the same time perhaps the most interesting title in the 
sacred literature of ancient India. In late times the Asuras 
are represented as demons or fiends confined in hell, and 
powerless against the gods.f In the Puranas, their oppo- 
nents are styled, by a false etymology, Suras ; and they are 
supposed to be A-Suras, "not- Suras/' In the Vedic litera- 
ture of the second class, the Brdhmanas } the Asuras are the 
cunning and powerful opponents of the Devas or gods. Going 
back still further, to the Yedic literature of the first class, we 
find the Asuras described in the Atharvaveda, the last and 
latest of the Four Vedas, as evil and tricky beings, who are 
put down and whose devices are frustrated by the Rishis or 
Vedic seer-poets. J Lastly, we come in an ascending scale to 
the Rig-Veda, in the Tenth and latest book of which the 
Asuras are still unfavourably described as the opponents of 
the gods and the good. But in the earlier portions of the 
Rik there are, according to Haug, only two passages where 
the word is used in an unfavourable sense. Thus during the 
latter part of the long period occupied in the gradual com- 
position of the Rig -Veda, the depreciation and degradation of 
the term Asura and Asuras went on steadily, until this prin- 
ciple culminated in their position in the late mythology. I 
will give some instances of the use of the word in a good 
sense, in the earlier portion of the Rik; and I may here 
remark that the translation by Wilson, which is based upon 
the views of that Indian Eustathios Sayana, A.D. 1350, most 

was generally on the eastern side ; for Zeus and his fellows are the Devas or 
" Bright-beings," who love the east as connected with the dawn, the light, 
and the day. But the shrines of heroes faced westward, to show that they 
had once been mortal and had sunk like the sun in death ; for the Sun-god, 
the Vedic Yarna, " was the first of men that died, the first who found the 
way" (Rig-Veda, X. xiv. 1, 2) to the heavenly world (vide inf. sec. 24. Of. 
" The happy west " in the archaic Egyptian religion). The west being thus 
connected with the infernal divinities, some Christian writers regarded it as 
the special region of the devil and evil spirits. The word erebos has also 
been identified with the Sanskrit ragas, but this is not approved by the 
best authorities (vide Prof. M. Miiller, Rig-V eda-Sanliita, i. 42). 

" Hapta Hindu is the sapta-sindhavas of the Vedas, a name of the 
Indus country or India." (Haug, Essays, 230, note 3.) 

t Southey's Curse of Kehama fairly illustrates this stage. 

It Vide Atharvaveda, IV. xxiii. 5 ; VII. vii. 2. 

Rig-Veda, II. xxxii. 4 ; VII. xcix. 5. In the later passage Varchin, 
an opponent of Indra, is styled an Asura, 


famous of native commentators on the Veda, is by no means 
to be relied on in the matter.* Thus we read f : 

" This soma { is to be distributed as an offering among 

the Asuras" (Haug). 

" This soma is to be offered by us for the divine beings " 
(Muir) . 

Here the Asuras are simply the gods. And the title Asura is 
also applied to some of the principal divinities separately; 
to Iudra, Agni,|| Savitri,^] to the divine diad Varuna and 
Mitra,** but especially to Varuna,ft the archaic head and 
chief of Vedic divinities, and whom we meet with in the west 
as Ouranos, so that he was known to the undivided Aryan 
family. Thus investigation discloses that the name Ahura, 
in the form Asura, was originally used in a good sense, alike 
in India and in Iran, and in both countries was especially 
applied to the supreme divinity. This name and concept 
were, therefore, the common property of the Eastern Aryans 
ere their separation into Iranian and Indian. But the term 
can be carried still further back, for we find it in the Aesir,{ J 
the general name for the gods of the Teutons and Scandi- 
navians, and in the Erse and Etruscan ./Esar ; and hence it 
was the common property of the united Aryan race, their 
ancient and venerable appellation of. the Supreme. 

Next, what is its meaning? Connected with the Yedic 
asu y ' breath/ ' life/ Asura is " the Living," the living God, 
the Spiritual, and, more generally, " the Divine," as opposed 
to the Human. The God of Zarathustra Ahuro rnazdao, 

" Sayana represents the tradition of India" (Prof. Miiller, Rig-Veda- 
Sanhita, Preface, xv.), and " in many cases teaches us how the Veda ought 
not to be understood " (Ibid ix.). 

t Rig-Veda, I. cviii. 6 : " Somo asurair." 

The Soma-juice, supposed to have been obtained from the plant Ascle- 
pias (vide Wilson, Rig-Veda-Sanhita, i. 6; Canon Kawlinson, Ancient 
Monarchies, ii. 329). 

Rig- Veda, I. liv. 3. || Ibid. IV. ii. 5. IF Ibid. I. xxxv. 7. 

* Ibid. VII. xxxvi. 2 ; VIII. xxv. 4. 

ft Ibid-. I. xxiv. 14. Here Wilson, under the influence of Sayana, 
renders Asura " averter of misfortune " ; adding " It is an unusual sense of 
the word, but it would scarcely be decorous (!) to call Varuna an asura" 
( Vide also Muir, Sanskrit Texts, v . 61.) M. Darmesteter remarks, " Varuna 
est le clieu le plus frequemment designe sous le nom d' Asura " (Ormazd et 
Ahrinian, 47). 

Jl The original form of the word is ansu (vide Tiele, Outlines of the 
History of the Ancient Religions, 190 ; Darmesteter, Ormazd et Ahriman, 
47, note 4). 

" According to Suetonius, ^ESAR was an Etruscan word which meant 
'God.' ASsar also means 'God' in Erse" (Rev. Isaac Taylor, Etruscan 
Researches, 144). " Aisar means * gods ' or ' spirits ' " (Ibid, 293). 

c 2 


l( the Ahura who is called Mazdao," is <( the Wise-living- 
spirit/' or perhaps rather, "the Living-Creator." * 

12. The Devas and the Deva-cult. 

Such being the god of "the Ahuryan religion/' let us next 
consider the Devas and their cult. The important root dyu, 
meaning primarily ' to spring/ and hence ' to shine forth/ 
has become the parent of a whole tribe of famous words, e.g., 
Dyaus, a Vedic name for the god of the gleaming heaven, 
the father; called Dyaus-pitar, the Greek Zeus-pater, and 
Latin Ju-piter and Janus Pater. Juno, Dianus, Diana, 
are other connected names; as is the German Tiu, which 
survives in Tues-day. Dyu has also supplied the general 
name for God or gods, deva, theos, deus, divus, i.e. "the 
Bright;" so, conversely, the Yedic a-deva is a-theos, or 
' god-less.' The Devas are, therefore, "the Bright-ones/' 
the divinities of the morning, the dawn, the day, the lighted 
and gleaming firmament. So we find the dictum, 

" The evening is not for the gods ; it is unacceptable to 
them." f 

Deva; therefore, like asura, was originally a good epithet 
amongst the Aryans ; and has continued to be so in India, 
Greece, and Italy. But just as the Hindu Aryan degraded 
the latter term, so the Iranian Aryan degraded the former ; 
and in the Gdthas and throughout the Avesta it is applied to 
false gods and hostile demons, and at length appears in the 
late Persian form dw,% meaning a fiend or evil spirit. The 
name Vendidad signifies, as noticed, " the Law against the 
Devas;" and from the Zarathustrian standpoint Aryan India 
is pre-eminently " the country of the wicked Deva-worship- 
ping men." Now, whatever the Aryan religion in India 
may have been originally, it undoubtedly at a certain period 
was, or became, polytheistic; and it will be observed that 

* " Mazddo . . . the Vedic medhds, ' wise ' ; or when applied to priests, 
1 skilful, able to make everything ' " (Haug, Essays, 301). Prof. Miiller and 
Benfey agree in this connection (vide Muir, Sanskrit Texts, v. 120, note). 
M. Darrnesteter prefers to derive Ahura from an Iranian word, ahu, 
" master," form of an Indo-Iranian asu, with which he compares the Greek 
WQ ; Ahuramazda would thus signify " the Very-wise Lord." The Kev. 
K. M. Banerjea takes a bolder flight, and confidently connects Asura with 
Asur, remarking "The name Ahura Mazda was derived from 'Asur/ the 
Assyrian term for god or lord " (The Arian Witness. Preface, xi. Calcutta, 
1875). f Rig-Veda, V. Ixxvii. 2. 

$ Prof. Miiller has elaborately traced the forms of the root dyu, such as 
div, dev, ddiv, etc. (Lectures on the Science of Language, ii. 493.) 

Vendidad, xix. 29. 


Zarathustra does not proclaim the cult of the Ahuras as 
against that of the Devas, but the worship of the Ahura, 
Ahuramazda, as against that of the company of Devas, God 
against gods, monotheism against polytheism. Now Zara- 
thustra, as noticed, was a reformer, refers to good men living 
ere his time, and did not invent the concept of Ahura ; and 
therefore, so far as the investigation has proceeded, we have 
exceedingly strong reasons for surmising that the Vedic 
period was one of gradual degradation, during which, what- 
ever may have been the superior faith or knowledge of indi- 
viduals, Dyaus, " the Bright/' the god of heaven, was by 
degrees transformed into the Devas or band of bright divini- 
ties, in disregard of that profound saying of a Chinese sage, 
" As there is but one sky, how can there be many gods ? "* 
Ere considering the Vedic religion in this connection, several 
points alluded to in the foregoing quotations from the Tasna 
must first be noticed. 

13. The Soma-orgies and the Bridge of the Judge. 
The intoxication spoken of in the Gcitha is that produced 
by the Soma-juice ; the Karapaiis or " Performers of sacri- 
ficial rites," were accustomed in the days of feud between 
Indian and Iranian to prepare solemn Soma-feasts for the 
Indian divinities. The Kavis or Seer-priests of the Yedic 
Aryans then invoked a particular divinity with hymns, and 
the god was supposed to descend and partake of the delicious 
beverage. His votaries next intoxicated themselves more or 
less, and when sufficiently excited set out on plundering excur- 
sions. Hence the horror and abomination with which the 
Zarathustrians regarded these depraving orgies, which at 
once vastly debased the concept of divinity and ruined the 
peaceable and orderly agriculturist. The Gdtha speaks of 
" the priests of idols," an expression which seems clearly to 
imply an image- worship more or less pronounced. Prof. 
Miiller states that "the religion of the Veda knows of no 
idols. The worship of idols in India is a secondary formation, 
a later degradation of the more primitive worship of ideal 
gods."t Bollensen and others are of a contrary opinion. The 
truth probably is, that images began to appear towards the 
end of the Vedic period. These idol-priests are warned to 
" avoid the Bridge of the Gatherer," the celebrated Chinvat 
pul. The phrase may also be rendered "Bridge of the 
Judge," which seems to me to be rather the preferable 

* Apud Prof. Miiller, Introduction to the Science of Religion, 195 
t Chips, i. 38. 



reading. This bridge leads across tlie aerial abyss to 
Heaven, and all souls must essay to traverse it; but the 
righteous alone can succeed^ whilst the wicked fall from it 
into Hell beneath. It is the origin of the Muhammedan 
bridge Al Sirat, " laid over the midst of hell, finer than a 
hair, and sharper than the edge of a sword/' whence the 
wicked will fall into the abyss. The root of the idea seems 
simply to be that Heaven being regarded as above and Hell 
beneath, the soul at death rises, in the desire to reach the 
former. But how shall it cross the vast abyss save by some 
aid, which may fitly be figured as a bridge ? The wicked 
necessarily fail, as they may not enter Heaven. The account 
of the soul's progress after death is highly interesting; the 
righteous man is assisted across the Bridge by a beautiful 
maiden, who is a personification of that holiness which he 
has chosen when in life, an unique and remarkably fine idea : 

" Said Ahuramazda : after a man is dead 
At daybreak after the third night he reaches Mithra ; " 

apparently the solar region. 

" The soul goes on the time-worn paths, 
Which are for the wicked and which are for the righ- 
To the Chinvad bridge created by Mazda." 

Here it is met by the maiden referred to. 

" She the beautiful, well-formed, strong, comes. 
She dismisses the sinful soul of the wicked into the 

She meets the souls of the righteous when crossing (the 

celestial mountain), 
And guides them over the Bridge of the Judge " 

into the heavenly regions, where they are joyfully welcomed. 

"Vohu-mano ["the Grood-Mind"] rises from a golden 
throne ; 

Vohu-mano exclaims : How hast thou come hither to us, 
righteous one ! 

From the perishable life to the imperishable life ? 

The souls of the righteous proceed joyfully to Ahura- 

To the Amesha spent as, to the golden throne, to para- 
dise." * 

* fattdidad, xix. 


The corresponding account in a Fragment of the Hadokht 
NasJc states, 

" On the passing away of the third night [after death], 
As the dawn appears, the soul of the righteous man 


Passing through plants and perfumes. 
To him there seems a wind, more sweet-scented than 

other winds, 
Advancing with this wind there appears to him what is 

his own religion, 

In the shape of a beautiful maiden. 
Then the soul of the righteous man spoke to her, 

1 What maiden art thou, most beautiful of maidens ?' 
Then answered him his own religion : 
I am, youth, thy good thoughts, good words, good 

deeds/ " 

And then the righteous soul advances the four steps to per- 
fect consummation of bliss, the last being placed upon " the 
eternal luminaries."* 

14. The Ameshaspentas. 

The soul of the righteous is said to proceed to Ahuramazda 
and " to the Aineshaspentas," the Ameshaspends of the 
Parsis, whose name signifies " Immortal Benefactors " and 
of whom, as we have seen,f the devout Ahuryan is a praiser. 
These personages may be fitly introduced by a very interesting 
quotation from Plutarch : " Horomazes [Ahuramazda] having 
sprung from the purest light, but Areimanios [Angromainyush] 
from the darkness (k- rov o<ou), they made war on each 
other : and the one [Horomazes] made six gods, the first 
(the god) of Good- mind (tuvotac). This is Yohumano, 
" the Good-mind/' afterwards known as the angel Bahman, 
a personification of the nature of Ahuramazda, and who, as 
noticed, J welcomes the righteous soul on its entry into 

" And the second (the god) of Truth (oXijflefec)." This is 
Asha-vahista ; the most beautiful truth." Aslia, the equiva- 
lent of the Vedic rita, is the universal order of things, both 
material as in the kosmos ; and religious, as in fitting worship 
and ritual. Thus the term signifies order, righteousness, truth. 
Asha-vahista is a kind of personification of light, which is 
truth-revealing and displays the harmony of the All, in oppo- 
sition to darkness, which is essentially ignorant and chaotic. 

* Vide sec. 7. t Sup. sec. 10. t Sup. sec. 13, 


" And the third (the god of) Good-government 
This is Khshathra-vairya, " the independent sway." The 
Kshatriya, or warrior caste, is the second of the four ancient 
Hindu castes which appear as early as the Brahmanas. 

" And of the rest one was (god) of wisdom. 1 " This is 
Spenta-armaiti, " the perfect thought/' piety. " And another 
(the god) of wealth (wXovrov} ." This is Haurvatad, "Health/' 
who was afterwards supposed to preside over the fruits of the 
earth, which spring up from the dwelling of Plutus-Pluto. 
" And the remaining one, the maker of the pleasures in what 
is beautiful."* This somewhat curious definition we can but 
apply to the remaining Ameshaspenta Ameretad, " Immor- 
tality/'' in which the righteous shall enjoy the endless loveli- 
ness of God. Now these six personifications, the Good-Mind, 
Truth, Power, Piety, Health, and Immortality, who, together 
with Ahuramazda, make up the mystic number of Seven 
Spirits of holiness and purity, afford a striking instance of the 
intense monotheism of the system of Zarathustra ; for they 
are not distinct divinities in origin, but, as their names show, 
merely phases of the beneficent action and perfect character of 
the Supreme. In later times a corresponding list of demons, 
such as Akem-mano, " the Evil Mind/' Taric, " Darkness/' 
and Zaric, " Poison," were excogitated in order to supply 
Angromainyush with assistant counsellors, and [to make a 
complete system exactly corresponding in its halves, on the 

" Grove nods at grove, each alley has its brother, 
And half the platform just reflects the other." 

This formal and arbitrary arrangement of divinities and super- 
natural personages good, bad, and indifferent is what may 
be termed pantheonization, is purely or mainly artificial, and 
always marks a late phase in the religious thought of a com- 
munity. In Greece the Homeric Poems paved the way for 
the system of Hesiod, from which the class of thinkers who 
culminated in Socrates and Plato ever recoiled, and which 
was essentially self-destructive. There is great truth, mixed 
doubtless with some alloy of error, in the remark of Herodotus, 
" Homer and Hesiod were the first to compose theogonies, 
and give the gods their epithets, to allot them their several 
offices and occupations, and describe their forms."f But, at 
the same time, it must be observed that the concept of a 
Supreme Power associated with six other personages, the 
whole body forming a mystic seven, is a really archaic idea, 

Peri Is. Jcai Os. xlvii. f Herod, ii. 53. 


and one which was not unfamiliar to the undivided Indo- 
Iranians. Areimanios, says Plutarch, sprang from the dark- 
ness, zophos, i.e. the west, as zephuros is the western wind. 
Kence he is identical in concept with Erebos, the gloom after 

15. Mithra. 

With the exception of Ahuramazda himself, no name is 
more famous in Iranian religious-mythology than that of 
Mithra, " the Friend/' the Vedic Mitra, the divinity of beam- 
ing light, and hence the Sun-god; not by any means the 
solar photosphere crudely regarded as a sentient being. In 
the Mihr-YaQJit, or "Invocation to Mithra,," Ahuramazda 

" When I created Mithra, I created him as worthy of 

As praiseworthy, as I myself, Ahuramazda/' 

Of Mithra M. Lenormant remarks that his " origin is not 
clearly explained in what remains of the Zoroastrian books " 
but that he ' ( seems to have sprung from Ormuzd, and to have 
been consuLstantial ivith him." He was the " judge after 
death. His name, title, and high position in the Mazdean 
faith unquestionably belong to the most ancient phase of this 
religion." f Elsewhere! he alludes to a passage "which has 
much puzzled the commentators/' "the two divine Mithras. " 
I understand Spiegel to interpret this of the sun and the 
planet Jupiter, but as the sun is mentioned almost immediately 
after, and is styled " the eye of Ahuramazda and Mithra/' I 
suppose rather that "the two divine Friends " are Ahuramazda 
and Mithra themselves. Now Mithra is almost the only divine 
personage besides Ahuramazda to whom, in the more archaic 
portion of the Avesta, a distinct, objective, actual, sentient 
existence is undoubtedly attributed. Thus we read 

" Mithra (who bestows) good dwelling on the Aryan 


May he come to us for protection, for joy, 
For mercy, for healing, for victory, for hallowing, 
Mithra will I honour with offerings, 
Will I draw near to as a Friend with prayer. 
Give us the favours we pray thee for, O Hero, 
Kingdom, strength, victoriousness, sanctification, and 
purity of soul, 

* Vide p. 17, note f. f Ancient, History of the East, ii. 33. 

Chaldean Magic, 236. Yasna, i. 29. 


Greatness and knowledge of holiness, instruction in the 
holy word/'* 

The physical and mythological side of his character, which is 
also of great interest, I need not refer to in this connection ; 
but it will be observed that Mithra cannot, like the Ameshas- 
pentas, be resolved into a mere personification of a quality or 
a virtue or the like, and hence in the Zoroastrian system he is 
not included amongst them. They are but illustrations of the 
character of Ahuramazda, the Supreme ; Mithra, though ever 
working in perfect harmony with him, though so closely con- 
nected with him that M. Lenormant makes use of the remark- 
able expression " consubstantial," is nevertheless also a distinct 
divinity, as worthy of honour as Ahuramazda himself. Mithra 
is not only the support, friend, and protector of the righteous, 
but also the constant and triumphant opposer of the Devas 
and of the wicked man. And, like the august concept of the 
Sun-god elsewhere, he is pre-eminently the judge. So in 
Egypt the Sun-god, as Ra and as Uasar (Osiris), is the judge 
of men j whilst, as Fox Talbot has observed, " The great 
name of the Sun in Assyrian theology was Daian-nisi or Dian- 
nisij-f the Judge of men ; the Greek Dionysos.J Neither 
Amen, " the Hidden-one," in Egypt, nor Anu, " the High- 
one/' in Assyria and Akkad, nor Ahura, " the Living-one," 
in Iran, take upon themselves the function of judge of mortals; 
they delegate the great work to their august representative 
and manifestation the Sun-god. It is impossible not to re- 
call in this connection various statements in our own Sacred 
Books in perfect harmony with this belief. Thus we are told 
that "the Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son,"|| 
who "was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and 
dead,"H" "God having appointed a day, in which He will 
judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath 
ordained."** And this judge is "the Sun of righteousness/'ff 
" a sun and shield." J J With the later Mithra, who as Mithras in 
conjunction with Serapis so triumphantly invaded the Roman 
Empire and drove the classic gods of Greece and Italy from 

* Mihr-Yasht. 

t From the Assyrian danu, judge ; Heb. dan (cf. Gen. xlix. 16 : Dan 
shall judge his people) and nisu, man. 

J Vide The Great Dionysiak Myth, ii. 209. 

For a consideration of the concept and position, physical and spiritual, 
of the Sun-god, vide The Archaic Solar-cult of Egypt. By the Writer. 
(Theological Review, October, 1878- January, 1879). 

|| St. John v. 22. IT Acts x. 42. * * Ibid. xvii. 31. 

ft Malachi iv. 2. J{ Psalm Ixxxiv. 11. 


the field, degrading even Jupiter himself to the rank of a mere 
planetary genius, I am not concerned. His mysteries, trials, 
tests, tortures, grades, and their contest and connection with 
Christianity and Gnosticism, form an exceedingly interesting 
study, but neither truly Zarathustrian, nor yet archaic. One 
Euboulos, quoted by Porphyry, wrote a history of Mithra in 
many books, and connected Zoroaster with his cult.* 

16. Mithra and the Gdthas. 

In the Mithra of the Avesta the Sun- god is presented before 
us in his customary double aspect. Physically, he sees all 
things, possesses wide pastures, has a chariot and swift horses, 
or stands clad in gold upon the mountain-tops. But he is far 
more than this ; he is also a mighty spiritual being, the judge, 
the terrible opponent of evil men and evil powers, the avenger 
of the broken contractf and the scourge of the liar, the be- 
stower of reward, fame, and holiness to the soul, to whom a 
man may draw near in prayer as to a friend. Now, as the 
name Mithra does not occur in the Gdthas except in the sense 
of ' ' contract " or " promise/' the next question for considera- 
tion is, What is the connection between Mithra and the reli- 
gion of the Gdthas? The general opinion is somewhat as 
follows : " Whilst in the Gathas we never find mentioned 
gods like Mithra and Anahita,J we meet with their names in 
nearly every page of the later Yasna. Here arises the ques- 
tion why the author of the Gathas disregarded these gods and 
divine beings whom it was afterwards held sinful to neglect ? 
The only (?) answer is that he neither believed in them nor 
thought them to be an essential part of religion. " So Dr. 
West observes, " Mithra finds no place in the earlier Zoroas- 
trian scriptures, and his appearance with the other angels, in 
the later writings, denotes a partial lapse into idolatry." || 
Although I dissent with diffidence from such authorities, yet 
I am compelled to do so in the present instance, and for the 
following reasons : 

I. Mithra occupied a position of exceedingly high honour 
and importance prior to the separation of Indian and Iranian. 

* Vide C. W. King, The Gnostics and their Remains, 97 ; Porphyry, 
Peri apoches ton empsuchon, iv. 16 ; Peri tou en Odusseia ton Nuiiiphfin 
antrou, 2. 

t A promise or contract is called mithra, and to break it is " to lie to 
Mithra " (vide Yasna, xlvi. 5 ; Vendidad, iv). 

+ The classical Anaitis and the Chaldeo-Assyrian Anatu. Her case 
is not analogous with that of Mithra, as she sprang from an entirely different 
source. Mithra is a purely Aryan divinity. 

Haug, Essays, 260. || The Academy, June 29, 1878, p. 583. 


That position he never lost, either in the Avesta, or in the 
earlier portions of the .Rig-Veda; whilst various other divini- 
ties were degraded either by Indian or Iranian. 

II. The authors of the GdtJias were perfectly acquainted 
with the worship of Mithra, but it is never condemned by 
them ; and as, moreover,, many Gdthas are undoubtedly lost, 
it is quite possible that Mithra may have been mentioned with 
approval in these. The argumentum e taciturnitate is proved 
in countless instances to be one of the weakest that can be 

III. There are apparently several indirect references to 
Mithra in the extant Gdthas. Thus, as noticed, his name 
occurs in the sense of ' contract'; and, as mentioned, refer- 
ence is made to the Bridge of the ' Gatherer ' or ' Judge/ 
Now Mithra, as M. Lenormant notices, was the "judge after 
death " ; and the customary mythologico-religious function of 
the Sun-god is to be the judge, guide, and conductor of 
souls, as the one who first passed into the unseen world.* I 
think, therefore, that Mithra is the personage here alluded to. 

IY. In the later portion of the Avesta Mithra reappears in 
a position of the highest honour, a circumstance which I do 
not regard as a " lapse into idolatry/' because I do not think 
that his concept was originally idolatrous ; this circumstance 
points rather to his having been regarded with unbroken 

Y. Lastly, the authors of the Gdthas, who were making a 
great monotheistic protest, had an obvious reason for sup- 
pressing the name, lest the nomen should as in countless 
other instances, and as was subsequently actually the case 
here, become the nutnen.^ 

As M. Lenormant observes, there is doubtless a certain 
obscurity connected with the Mithraic concept as it appears 
in the Avesta; but I think with him, that we may without 
hesitation link Mithra with the most ancient phase of the 
Iranian religion; and, further, that a careful analysis of the 
archaic concept of Mithra, and especially bearing in mind his 
intimate relation with Ahuramazda, will make us hesitate ere 

* Vide the ca&e of the Vedic Yania, and the Hymns on the subject in the 
Rig-Veda, books IX. X. The Greek idea was similar. " Stesichoros, 
B.C. 632-552, sings how Halios [Helios] Hyperion's sun, went down into his 
golden cup and sailed away o'er ocean to the deep realms of night, to visit 
his beloved ones in the sacred laurel grove." (The Great DionysiaJc Myth, i. 

t Cf. Exodus xxiii. 13 : "In all things that I have said unto you be 
circumspect : and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let 
it be heard out of thy mouth." 


we pronounce the respect or reverence originally paid him to 
have been idolatrous. As the Homeric poems contain nume- 
rous personifications of ideas, such as rumour, terror, panic, 
discord, sleep, death, and the like ; so, in the Avesta, we find 
disease, decay, poverty, deceit, dwarfishness, sloth, dark- 
ness, poison, represented or spoken of as personal demons; 
and other concepts more august such as Sraosha, the personifi- 
cation of the divine service; Rashnu, the personification of 
justice; Asha, order, physical, moral, and religious; and the 
Ameshaspentas equally resolve themselves, so far as actual 
objective existence is concerned, into thin air. But Mithra, 
"the mightiest, strongest, most famous, most victorious, 
most brilliant of the Yazatas," * or " beings worthy of 
honour/' cannot be so resolved. He is neither the sun, nor 
the light, but the spirit of brightness and the sentient friend 
of man. 

17. Ahuramazda as the Creator. 

It remains to notice the statement in the Gdthas respecting 
Ahuramazda as the creator of all things. I have already f 
quoted a passage which declares that the material world was 
created by his two spirits, and in another place we read ; 

" Armaiti came with wealth, the good and true mind ; 
She the everlasting one, created the material world." 

Now Armaiti, the Yedic Aramati, is the personification of 
Prayer or Divine Wish ; and, as noticed, is " in Ahuramazda," 
and hence the meaning is that divine yearning tender and 
benevolent occasioned creation. So, again, we read : 

" That I shall ask thee, tell it me right, O Ahura ! 
Who was in the beginning the father and creator of 

righteousness ? 

Who created the path of the sun and stars ? 
Who causes the moon to increase and wane but thou ? 
Who is holding the earth and the skies above it ? 
Who made the waters and the trees of the field ? 
Who created the lights of good effect and the darkness ? 
Who created the sleep of good effect and the activity ? 
Who (created) morning, noon, and night ? 
Who has prepared the Bactrian home ? 
To become acquainted with these things, I approach 

thee, Mazda, 

Beneficent spirit ! creator of all beings ! 
That I shall ask thee, tell it me right, O Ahura ! 

The Vedic Yajata " and the Parsi Izad or u angel." t Sec. 9. 


How may I come,, Mazda ! to your dwelling-place (i. e. 

To hear you sing ? " 

The touching simplicity of the last question may almost pro- 
voke a smile, but let any Lucretius who, either in despairing 
incredulity or in temporary satisfaction with the water of this 
life, has 

" Dropped his plummet down the broad 
Deep universe and said c No God,' 
Finding no bottom/' 

commune for a moment with his own heart respecting this 
sacred thirst of man for the more immediate presence of 
divinity, this cry of agonizing intensity, " When shall I come 
and appear before God ; " " for all men yearn after the 
gods/' * Is it baseless, a mere desire for nothing ? I would 
as soon believe that physical thirst was unaccompanied by an 
answering actuality. No sadder doom can befall a mortal 
than to convince himself that this, the noblest aspiration of 
the soul, is altogether fallacious. To such an one it may 
almost be said in those words of unapproachable sadness, 
" The fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, 
and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed 
from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all." That I 
do not exaggerate, witness the confession of the candid and 
most unhappy Physicus, at the conclusion of his able work, 
<c I am not ashamed to confess that with this virtual negation 
of God the universe to me has lost its soul of loveliness ; and 
when at times I think of the appalling contrast between the 
hallowed glory of that creed which once was mine, and the 
lonely mystery of existence as now I find it, at such times I 
shall ever feel it impossible to avoid the sharpest pang of 
which my nature is susceptible." f Thank heaven that in 
ancient Iran we see no such " monumental melancholy gloom/' 
but rather a childlike confidence and simple faith that Ahura 
will guide through all darkness and difficulty, and that at the 
last, although in some almost "unimagined fashion," his 
children " shall see his face." 

" Ahura who is giving all (good things) cannot be deceived. 
All that have been living, and will be living, 
Subsist by means of his bounty only, 
The soul of the righteous attains to immortality. 

* TIdvTeg fit BtMv \ariova' avOpcjTrot. (Od. iii. 48.) 

t A Candid Examination of Theism, 114 (English and Foreign Philo- 
sophical Library, vol. ix.)- 


Him I wish to adore with my good mind, 

Him who gives us fortune and misfortune according to 
his will,, 

He knows with his true and good mind, 

And gives to this world freedom from defects and im- 

for He "only hath immortality." It will be remembered 
that I am not speaking so much of Iranian religion generally, 
nor even of the religion of the Avesta, a work of many hands 
and many years, but of the religion of Zoroaster ; and I think 
it must, upon the whole, be admitted that amongst the various 
phases of uninspired faith, his will stand almost second to 
none; and that it is distinctly and essentially monotheistic. 
Having now considered it in itself, I will next briefly view it 
in connection with Archaic, i.e. pre-Zarathustrian, Mono- 
theism, and with this feature chiefly as it appears amongst 
the eastern members of the Aryan family. 


18. Various Modern Theories respecting the Nature 
of Vedic Belief. 

As the earliest Vedic literature is admittedly nearer in lan- 
guage, style, and tone of thought to the period of Indo-Ira- 
nian unity than the Avesta generally, or perhaps even than the 
Gat Jt as, it is to the Rig -Veda, the " Yeda of Praise," which 
stands at the head of the Aryan sacred literature of India, that 
we must, in the first instance, turn for information respecting 
pre-Zarathustrian faith. The Sanhita or 'Collection' of the 
Rik, consists of 1,017 SuJctas or ' Hymns/ containing 10,580 
Riclias or ' Verses/ and is divided into ten Books called 
Mandalas or ' Circles/ The work appears to be the production 
of some 150 writers, and its composition doubtless extended 
over several centuries. From the nature of the human mind 
and from the experience we possess of other archaic sacred 
works, we may expect to discern in it a great uniformity of 
tone and a general method of treatment, combined with almost 
infinite* variety in detail, often apparently highly conflicting,, 
and a gradual drifting of the mind towards fresh mental stand- 
points ; a phase which shows itself in a fluctuation in the amount 
of respect paid to various divinities, who thus from time to time 
fall or rise in the estimation of their votaries. All this we shall 
find abundantly in the Rik. There is, of course, no question 
that the faith of the Aryan Indian became practically polythe- 
istic, although many theistic or even monotheistic features were 


retained or added whilst pantheism, ever a late form of philo- 
sophico-religious thought, likewise appeared in its turn in a 
most pronounced and developed phase, But the question 
before us is not what archaic Indian faith had become at the 
end, but what it was (to go back at present no further) at the 
commencement, of the Yedic period. And here at the thres- 
hold of the investigation, the inquirer must not be discouraged 
by finding the widest difference of opinion amongst experts. 
The student, therefore, whilst giving all honour where it is 
due, will carefully retain the right of private judgment, nor 
consent to follow blindly the chariot of any particularly great 
literary conqueror. Theie is no absolute and inherent neces- 
sity that the best philologist should be also the best mytholo- 
gist, or that the man who possesses the greatest acquaintance 
with the body of a work should have most truly caught its 
real spirit. There is, indeed, a decided a 'priori probability in 
his favour, but nothing more. Professor Miiller, with a par- 
donable preference for his great study, observes, " The Veda, 
I feel convinced, will occupy scholars for centuries to come, 
and will take and maintain for ever its position as the most 
ancient of books in the library of mankind."* I think the 
Veda scarcely possesses this pre-eminent claim to antiquity, 
but whether scholars will be thus occupied with it or not, 
sure I am that " for centuries to come " (should the present 
state of things endure so long) men will investigate with undi- 
minished interest the archaic beginnings of religion, in connec- 
tion with the supreme question of its truth, and of the reason 
of its existence amongst mankind. The fact that highly able 
inquirers have regarded the Vedic religion as polydaimonic or 
even lower ; as polytheistic, as henotheistic, or as monotheistic, 
is at first sight very startling ; but even a slight study of the 
Veda almost clears up the mystery, inasmuch as it soon reveals 
the principles on which the various experts acted. Thus, ac- 
cording to A, the Yedic Indian observing, like other savage or 
semi-savage tribes, a vast amount of extra-human power 
around, worshipped it everywhere and in anything or in every- 
thing. The principle of anthropomorphism obtained more or 
less, as of course, and thus the cult was polydaimonic or fetish- 
istic. According to B, the Yedic Indian, like other Aryans, 
was deeply impressed by the most remarkable phenomena of 
nature, which he personified and adored ; hence he was a poly- 
theist. According to C, the Yedic Indian had a wonderful sense 
of the greatness and goodness of the divine, but he was unable 
to consider the whole except in its parts ; and hence when he 

Rig- Veda Sanhita, i. Preface, x. 


hymned this or that phase of superhuman potency, it assumed su- 
preme dimensions in his mind, and being, of course, personified, 
the worshipper thus became a henotheist, or one who adores 
many gods, any one of whom may be regarded in turn as the 
highest. According to D, the Vedic Indian originally believed 
in one God, whose phases of character and material manifesta- 
tions by degrees became personified; whereby the original, 
simple and sublime idea was shrouded and hence forgotten. 
And are there then passages in the Rig -Veda which coun- 
tenance, or seem to countenance, each of these contradictory 
opinions ? Most certainly, and hence the theories ; but here, 
as elsewhere, let us as far as possible avoid being entangled 
by what I may call the tyranny of isolated texts. " It is 
written again/' must be our constant motto, for the ninety- 
first Psalm is by no means the only Scripture that may be per- 
verted through this most objectionable principle. What must 
be sought in an investigation of the Rik is, not simply odd 
passages or quotations which maybe used in support of a par- 
ticular theory, but broad, general principles of belief. To give 
an instance : 110 passage in the Veda is more familiar and per- 
haps more remarkable than the famous statement : 

({ They call Him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni ; 
And (he is) the celestial, well-winged Garutmat. 
Sages name variously that which is but one : 
The}' call it Agni, Yama, Matarisvan."* 

Here, it may be said, we reach monotheism at a bound ; here 
is an explanatory statement in the earliest portion of the Veda, 
giving the general practice and belief. And towards the close 
of the Rile we read similarly : 

' l The wise, in their hymns, represent, under many forms, 

the well- winged (god) who is but one."t 

I value these passages very greatly, but the argument in favour 
of archaic monotheism must not be allowed to rest upon them 
alone, or upon any other similar passages elsewhere. And we 
must be cautious not to strain them ; thus it may be asked 
who is the ( Him/ the ' it/ and the ' well-winged ' ? It is easy 
to reply that the Deity is undoubtedly meant, and such very 
likely may be the case ; but the great commentator Yaska, 
B.C. 400, applied the former passage to Agni, whilst Sayana 
thought that Surya, the Sun, was intended. However, ere 
examining the principal Vedic concepts, we may remember 

* Rig-Veda, I. clxiv. 46. The translations of Vedic passages are chiefly 
taken from Dr. Muir's Sanskrit Texts, and occasionally from the work of the 
late Prof. Wilson, continued by Prof. Cowell. t Ibid X. cxiv. 5. 



with comfort a statement of Professor M tiller, which is not 
based upon any particular passage or passages, but upon a 
wide and careful investigation of the subject, a statement 
which has my warmest assent, " Like an old precious metal, 
the ancient religion, after the rust of ages has been removed, 
will come out in all its purity and brightness, and the image 
which it discloses will be the image of the Father, the Father 
of all the nations upon earth."* 

19. The Vedic Divinities. 

The principle of explaining the concept of a myfchologico- 
religious being from the signification of his name, is one which 
has of late been employed with the most distinguished success; 
and therefore a first step towards determining archaic Vedic 
faith is to tabulate the Vedic divinities and to notice the 
meaning of their names. The following are the principal per- 
sonifications or divine personages of the Rig-Veda : 

Aditi. " The Boundless." " The Infinite."f " The Infinite 
personified" (Miiller). Mother of the seven or eight 
Adityas : namely, Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman, Amsah, 
Bhaga, Daksha, Agni, and Martanda. The passages 
do not absolutely agree respecting the names of the 

Agni. The Slavonic Ogni. Lat. ignis. The igneous prin- 
ciple, which shows itself alike in the terrestrial, aerial, 
and heavenly flame, visible and invisible. "The Ag-ile." 

Amsah. "The Sympathizer" (Eoth). "The Sharer" 
(Tiele). "Portion" (Whitney). Very rarely men- 

Aryaman. "The Favourer" (Roth). "Protector" (Whit- 
ney). Closely connected with Mitra, and sometimes 
incorrectly identified with the Iranian Ahriman. 

Asura. " The Living." J We often find one Asura particu- 
larly mentioned, who is called " Asura of heaven. " 

Asvins. "The Horsemen." "ThePervaders" (Goldstticker.) 
Sons of Asva, the Sun in his aspect of a racer. || " The 
two powers which seemed incorporated in the coming 
and going of each day and each night" (Miiller). In 
the West the Dioskouroi, Castor and Pollux. 

Bhaga. " The Distributer." "Fortune" (Whitney). The 

* Introduction to the Science of Religion, 67. 

j- Vide Prof. Miiller's course of lectures On the Origin and Growth of 
Religion. J Vide sup. sec. 11. 

Haug, Essays, 269. || Of. Psalm xix. 5. 

Wendie Bogu. The " name became at an early date a 
general designation of the gods among the Slavs. "* 
Brahmanaspati. " The Lord of spells." A phase of Agni. 
Brihaspati. " The Lord of prayer." A phase of Agni. 
Daksha. The Intelligent " (Roth). " The Power " (Tiele) . 
"The Powerful in will" (Lenormant). "Insight" 
(Whitney). " Daksha sprang from Aditi and Aditi 
from Daksha. Aditi was produced, she who is thy 
daughter, O Daksha.^f 
Lyaus. " The Shiner." " The Bright." J The heaven and 

bright heaven god, Zeus. 

Hiranyagarbha. "Golden embryo." " The source of golden 
light " (Miiller) . A very remarkable hymn is addressed 
to this divinity. The poet exclaims : 
" In the beginning there arose the source of golden-light 
He was the one born Lord of all that is. 
He established the earth, and this sky ; 
Who is the God to whom we shall offer our sacrifice ? 
He who gives life, He who gives strength ; 
Whose command all the bright gods revere : 
Whose shadow is immortality; whose shadow is death; 
He through whom the sky is bright and the earth firm 
He through whom the heaven was 'stablished nay the 

highest heaven. 

He who is the sole life of the bright gods ; 
He who alone is God above all gods; 
He the Creator of the earth ; He the Righteous, who 

created the heaven." || 

Indra. " The Rain-giver." The name is probably derived 
from indu, ' drop/ The Zeus Ombrios, Jupiter Pluvius, who 
with his thunderbolt destroys the rain-concealing demon and 
sets free the refreshing waters. A peculiarly Indian divinity 
who, from the local characteristics of the country, became 
almost the head of the Pantheon. If the Iranians knew him 
at all, which is very doubtful,^ they degraded him by making 
him into a demon.** 

Maruts. "The Crushers." ft The Storm- winds. Greek, 
Ares. Latin, Mars. 

* Tiele, Outlines of the History of the Ancient Religions, 109. 
f Rig-Veda, X. Ixxii. 14. Vide sup. sec. 12. 

Rig-Veda, X. cxxi. 

j Translated by Prof. Max Miiller in his History of Ancient Sanskrit 
Literature, 569. 

*|f Vide Darmesteter, Omazd et Ahriman, 260, et seq. 
** Vide Haug, Essays, 272. 

ft The above is the generally-received interpretation. M. Darmesteter pre- 
fers, however, to render marat or marut " man" (vide Ormazd et .4/irwnew, 164). 




Mitra. "The Friend." Iranian Mithra.* Nearly always 
mentioned in connection with Varuna. t 
Prithivi. "The Broad Earth." Greek, Flatus. 
Purusha. "The Male." The Purusha Sultta% gives a 
somewhat pantheistic account of the Deity under this name. 
The poet says : 

" Purusha has a thousand heads, eyes, feet. 
Purusha himself is the whole (universe), whatever has 

been, whatever shall be. 
He is the lord of immortality. 
All existing things are a quarter of him, and that which 

is immortal in the sky is three-quarters of him. 
The moon was produced from his soul ; 
The sun from his eye ; Indra and Agni from his mouth ; 
And Vayu from his breath." || 
Pushan. "The Growth-producer." (Tiele.) 
Rudra. " The Terrible." This personage forms an excel- 
lent illustration of the principle nomina numina, and of the 
utter baselessness of many of the bugbears which have 
frightened millions of mankind for ages. His name in origin 
is only an adjective applied to Agni. Thus we read 
"Agni, the Brilliant, the Terrible J (i.e. Rudra). 

Agni, the terrible (rudra) king, the golden-formed." ** 
Rudra as a distinct divinity continued to increase in import- 
ance until as Siva, " the Gracious," a euphemism for his title 
Sarva, " the Wrathful," he attained almost the first place in 
the Hindu Pantheon, becoming the Mahadeva, or " Great 
god," Megas theos. His dread consort Kali, " the Black," 
was merely originally one of the seven fire- tongues of Agni. 
In such instances as these we see polytheism developing 
before our eyes, many made out of one. 

Savitri. "The Vivifier" (Tiele), "The Inspirer" (Cox). 
A solar phase. 

Soma. "Intoxication" (Canon Rawlinson). Originally 
the moist, humid, and watery element in nature, ft Also 
closely connected with Agni. 

* Vide sup. sees. 15, 16. 

} Mitra and Varuna are the subject of a recent monograph by Dr. 
Hillebrandt, Varuna und Mitra (Breslau, 1877). 

J Rig-Veda, X. xc. 

An early instance of symbolical monstrosity, a principle which has often 
made art hideous. 

|| Apud Muir, Sanskrit Texts, v. 368, et seq. The hymn affords an exact 
parallel to some of the later Egyptian hymns to the pantheistic Sun-god. 
(Vide The Archaic Solar Cult of Egypt. By the Writer.) 

f Big-Veda, III. ii. 5. ** Ibid, IV. iii. 1. 

ft Vide sup. sec. 13 ; inf. sec. 29. Soma is a liquid Agni. 

Surya. "The Shining" (Tiele). Greek, Helios; Latin, 
Sol, the Sun. 

Tvashtn. "The Creator" (Lenormant). "The Maker" 
(Miiller). A solar Hephaistos. 

Ushas. "The Dawn." Greek, Eos, Aiis, Auos. Also 
called Ahana. Greek, Athena, " the Brilliant ; " and Sa- 
ranyu, Greek, Erinnys, the ' running ' light. 

Varuna. "The Coverer" (Tiele). Greek, Ouranos. The 
God of heaven, the Asura and head of the Vedic Pantheon. 
After having ruled in the Oversea, Varuna in later times was 
degraded to the Undersea, and became an Okeanos.* 

Vaiju. "The gentler wind." Of. Lat. Favonius. The 
spirit-breath of heaven. 

Vishnu. "The Penetrater" (Gubernatis). The Sun, as 
striding across heaven. 

Vivasvat. "The Brilliant" (Roth). Heavenly light and 
the sun. 

Yama. "The Twin." Of. Lat. Gemini. The Iranian 
Yima, who reigned in the happy golden age of the past. By 
Yama and his twin-sister Yami some understood Day and 
Night, or Light and Darkness. Yama is especially the 
western or setting sun. He reigns over the departed, for to 
die is but to go away ; and the fathers, the elder worthies of 
the human race, dwell with Yama in bliss in the unseen 

Such, then, are the principal divinities of the Rig-Veda. 
There are also many minor figures, goddesses, who play 
unimportant parts, for a goddess, to use an Assyrian expres- 
sion, is originally merely the ' reflection ' of her husband-god j 
ideal personifications, such as Vach, ' Voice/ Sraddha, 
' Faith/ and the like ; compound names for the supreme 
divinity, and other heterogeneous concepts ; but the foregoing 
list contains all, or nearly all, the personages of any real 

20. Analysis of the Vedic Divinities. 

Reckoning the Asvins and the Maruts as each one person- 
age, the list contains twenty-nine names, from which we may 
at once deduct the three special phases of Agni, namely, 

* Cf. the position of the Homeric Okeanos : 
'Qictavov Tf, QtS>v ys 

(II. xiv. 301-2.) 


Brahmanaspati, Brihaspati, and Rudra. The remaining 
twenty-six, on analysis, appear as follows : 

I. Phenomenal Objects. 

5. Purely solar. 

1. Celestial. 







2. Aerial. 

6. The Earth. 

The Maruts. 


3. The Dawn. 

II. Abstractions of Deity. 



4. Semi-solar. 





Hirany agarbha . 

The Asvins. 




III. The Aryan God. 




They may also be further divided into : 

I. Natural Objects merely so 




The Maruts. 




II. Natural Objects connected 
with spiritual power. 

1. Heat and Humidity. 

2. The Heaven. 

3. The Light. 
The Asvins. 


4. The Sun. 

III. Forms of Deity. 

1. General. 

2. Abstract. 
Hirany agarbha. 

. Connected ivith Light. 

4. Pantheistic. 


21. Natural Objects merely so regarded. 

In the present day, when knowledge and research have so 
vastly extended,, and when whole books are written on single 
divinities, it is of course utterly impossible in a brief paper to 
give anything like a complete representation of the facts, or a 
full justification of the views adopted. But it is quite possible 
to indicate a general method of treatment, and, I venture to 
add, to advance very strong arguments in its favour. Nor is 
further investigation either into the researches of original 
students, or by such students themselves, likely, in my judg- 
ment, to turn the monotheistic position here adopted. We 
have a number of names, an apparent polytheism, but in 
origin a real monotheism. To begin with Infinite Space, 
Heaven, Earth, Dawn, Wind, and Tempest, six of these 
twenty-six figures : as far as I am aware there is no passage 
in the Rik which necessarily implies that any one of them 
was regarded by any poet as an absolutely sentient being of 
divine nature. As to Aditi, the infinite, she is of course in 
one point of view mother of everything and of every personage 
which infinite space contains; but she is no real divinity, 
being essentially a mere negation, the not-bounded, and space 
itself is mainly unsubstantial extension. Heaven and earth, 
again, broadly regarded as the two halves of the all, heaven 
being all that is above, and earth all that is below, are, anthro- 
pomorphically speaking, father and mother of men and things 
in many a kosmogony ; but, as in the case of Aditi, and as in 
that of the Greek Ouranos and Gaia, this is a mere figure of 
speech. Thus, the ancient song of Dodona ran, " The earth 
sends forth her fruit, therefore call the earth mother." Dyaus, 
in the East, is but a name ; in the West he is the true god-father, 
Zeus. Conversely, Ouranos in the West is but a name ; in the 
East he is the true god-father, Varuna the Asura. Dr. Muir 
is of opinion that epithets of ' c a moral or spiritual nature " are 
applied to the Vedic Dyaus and Prithivi, but such terms as 
" innocuous, beneficent, wise, promoters of righteousness," by 
no means necessarily contain such an implication. Thus, for 
instance, the righteousness spoken of is merely kosmic order ; 
of which heaven and earth are, of course, the two great sup- 
porters. The wisdom of heaven is no more than that of the 
physical sun who " sees all things/' and therefore is said to 
know all things. Beautiful hymns are addressed to Ushas, the 
dawn ; but there is little, if anything, in them which a modern 
poet might not have written, and there is not a tittle of evi- 
dence to show that the ancient poet regarded Ushas otherwise 


than a modern Aryan bard would do.* Chateaubriand 
writes : 

" The dawn peeps in at the window, she paints the sky with red ; 
And over our loving embraces her rosy rays are shed. 
She looks on the slumbering world, love, with eyes that seem divine ; 
But can she show on her lips, love, a smile as sweet as thine 1 "t 

There is no mystery here ; simply a constant working of the 
anthropomorphic principle. And so the Vedic Ushas, daughter 
of the sky, sister of night, bride of the sun, mistress of the 
world, kinswoman of Varuna, divine, immortal, golden-hued, 
as we have seen, smiles upon the earth ; and to her, to the 
region whence all drawn-light springs, go holy souls after 
death. J Again, Vayu, the wind, touches the sky, and is swift 
as thought ; he does not occupy a prominent position in the 
Rig-Veda, but is very closely connected with Indra, as ruling 
the middle region. The Maruts are a troop of winds, some- 
times said to be twenty-seven in number, sometimes a hundred 
and eighty. They attend and aid Indra, the god of the bright 
heaven, who drives away darkness by storm. Thus, this group 
of divinities, on examination, disappear absolutely, not merely 
to ourselves, but to the Vedic Indian. They stand confessed 
as the ordinary phenomena of nature, and nothing more. 

22. The Forms of Deity. 

Twenty personages remain. Let us next take the group of 
forms of deity. Daksha is merely a personification of intelli- 
gence, or intelligent will, which will, as noticed, even pro- 
duced infinite space. Whose will ? That of the Asura. 
Amsah, whose name very rarely occurs, is the " sympathizer," 
or " sharer." But who sympathizes with mankind, or divides 
amongst them the good things of existence save the Asura ? 
That Bhaga, " the distributer," is merely another of his names 
is evident ; amongst other reasons, from the fact that Bhaga 
became a general name for God amongst the Slavs, and there- 
fore belonged to the period of Aryan unity. He who is 
Amsah is Bhaga, and both, as noticed, are Adityas. Hiranya- 
garbha and Purusha are later philosophical concepts of Grod ; 
they are therefore identical with each other and with Asura. 

* Vide sup. sec. 6. 

t Apud Victor Hugo, The History of a Crime, iii. 27. 

J Rig- Veda, X. Iviii. 8. Sup. sec. 19. 


Lastly, there is Asura, and here at length, amid this world 
of shadows, we " touch earth." The Asura is God. 

23. The Sun. 

So far all has been simple ; we have examined twelve names 
and found one divinity. But it is far from my intention to 
attempt to free the Vedic Indians from the charge of poly- 
theism ; as a body they certainly were or became polytheistic, 
and we can easily see how and why. The time to which our 
attention is turned is the commencement of the Vedic age, and 
we observe how numbers of the gods resolve themselves into 
simile. But others are of a different character. We next come 
to natural objects connected with spiritual power ; and here is 
the stronghold of Vedic polytheism. And yet even here the 
evidence of previous monotheism is almost, if not quite, as 
strong. To take first the sun and the sun-god : Savitri, 
Surya, Vishnu, Vivasvat, and Yama are each the sun. For 
mankind, however, there is but a single sun ; they are, there- 
fore, really identical : it is possible that there may have been a 
time when they were regarded as five distinct, objective, 
sentient personages or solar gods. But there must have been 
a time when the one had not yet become five, for thus to 
divide and classify requires an elaborate mental effort, and a 
corresponding period for its development. This division of 
the sun and of the sun-god is familiar. Thus in Egypt we find 
the diurnal and nocturnal sun ; Ba., the mid-day sun ; Kheper, 
the prolific sun; Haremakhu, the horizon sun; Turn, the setting 
sun; Mentu, the rising sun; Fenti, the climbing sun; Atumu, 
the chthonian sun ; Harpakrut, the new-born wintry sun ; 
Aten, the power of the solar disk; Uasar (Osiris), the suffering 
sun, and the like. The Vedic sun proper is Surya, whose 
name reappears in the Greek helios and the Latin sol ; and 
as these are simply names of the solar photosphere and not of 
the solar divinity, we may fairly conclude that Surya in origin 
similarly signified the physical sun, just as Ushas means the 
dawn. Surya, in the Hymns, is the son of Aditi, the son of 
Dyaus, the husband of LTshas, and the eye of Mitra, Varuna 
and Agni, expressions which require no comment. In Savitri 
the solar power rises higher. Savitri is an Asura ; he is 
especially praised by Varuna, Mitra, and Aryaman, with whom 
he works in harmonious concert ; he is the lord of all creatures 
and the bestower of immortality ; he is the sender of bless- 
ings, is prayed to deliver his votary from sin,* and to convey 

Eig-Vtda, IV. liv. 3, 


the holy soul to the abode of the righteous.* He is pre- 
eminently the god of golden lustre, and as a matter of course 
is sometimes distinguished from Surya, and sometimes identi- 
fied with him ; Surya, speaking generally, being the body, and 
Savitri, the spirit, of the sun. Altogether, Savitri in position 
and general concept very closely resembles the Iranian 
Mithra ; and hence we are not'surprised to find him identified 
with Mitra.f Vishnu, " the Penetrater," is the sun from 
whose heat nothing is hid ; who, forcing his way up from the 
under world, crosses heaven in three strides and penetrates 
again into the hidden region. J Vivasvat, " the brilliant," is 
a minor solar phrase. 

24. Yama. 

Savitri, who can free from sin and who conveys the soul 
after death to bliss, glides into Yama and becomes identical 
with him. In India, as in Egypt, the sun received different 
names during the different portions of his career ; and Yama, 
as connected with the death of man, and of the sun, and with 
the unseen world, is associated with the setting sun, and hence 
with the west. His name, " Twin/' is mysterious. Prof. 
Roth considers him a representative of one of the original pair 
of mortals, but this view Prof. Miiller rejects. Had the locus 
been Egypt, I should have been inclined to regard the twins as 
the sun nocturnal and diurnal, but here there is not sufficient 
authority for such an opinion. I have already mentioned other 
conjee tures. In the ninth and tenth books of the Rig- Veda 
Yama is prominently introduced in connection with the 
doctrine of a future life and the state of the fathers, the 
departed worthies of the human race. In the Atharva-Vedawe 
read : 

"Reverence ye Yama, the son of Vivasvat,|| 
The assembler of men (in the unseen world) ; 
Who was the first of men that died, 
And the first that departed to this (celestial) world.^^f 

And this is but the slightly later echo of the Eik, 

" Worship with an oblation King Yama, son of Vivasvat, 

* Rig-Veda, X. xvii. 4. f Ibid V. Ixxxi. 4. 

J Vide the explanation of the Vishnu-myth by the ancient commentator 
Aurnavabha, a predecessor of Yaska (apud Muir, Sanskrit Texts, iv. 64). 

Sup. sec. 19. 

The western sun is the son of the brilliant mid- day sun, 

Atharva-Veda, XVIII. iii. 13. 


The assembler of men, who departed to the mighty 


And spied out the road for many, 
Yama was the first who found for us the way. 
This home is not to be taken from us. 
Depart thou, depart by the ancient paths whither our 

early fathers have departed. 
There thou shalt see the two kings, t Yama and the god 

Meet with the fathers, meet with Yama, in the highest 


Throwing off all imperfection go to thy home. 
Become united to a body, and clothed in a shining 

form/'' J 

According to the Atharva- Veda, " death is the messenger 
of Yania, who conveys the spirits of men to the abode of their 
forefathers. " Here, then, is the august figure of the sun-god 
dwelling in celestial light, in the inmost sanctuary of heaven, || 
with the Asura Varuna and the elder worthies of the human 
race. In the sun-god we met with a second undoubted 

25. The Semi-solar Light Gods. 

I pass on to the semi-solar light gods. Aryaman, " The 
Favourer/' one of the Adityas, is seldom mentioned, and 
generally with Varuna and Mitra, of whom he is a phase. 
The favourers of man are the Asura of heaven and the kindly 
sun-god. The mysterious Asvins are emanations of the bright 
gods, and have been defined as " the two powers which seemed 
incorporated in the coming and going of each day and each 
night."1[ Indra, the god of the bright heaven and slayer of the 
monster of darkness, is a purely Indian divinity, unknown 
even to the period of Indo-Iranian unity ; he is another aspect 
of Varuna-Dyaus, whom he to a great extent superseded, and 
affords a good example of the polytheistic advance. He was 
certainly regarded as a distinct personage ; but as he is not 
pre-Vedic, the circumstance is immaterial to the monotheistic 
position. Mitra, the Iranian Mithra, is a veritable divinity, 
belonging to the period of the Indo-Iranian unity. I shall 
notice him further when speaking of Varuna, with whom he is 

( 'ETT' 'QKtavolo podwv (II. iii. 5). 

t I think it quite possible that originally " the Twins " were Varuna and 
Yama-Savitri. Cf. c< the two divine Mithras " (sup. sec. 15). 
t Big- Veda, X. xiv. S Muir, Sanskrit Texts, v. 303, 

(I Rig-Veda, IX. cxiii. 7. 
T Prof. Miiller, Lectures on the Science of Language, ii. 53. 77 


almost invariably associated in the Hymns, and, as mentioned,*' 
he is identified with Savitri. Pushan, " the Growth-producer/' 
is a phase and name of the sun-god. Pushan guides on 
journeys and to the unseen world, aids in the revolution of day 
and night, is an Asura, knows all things, presides over mar- 
riage, and conducts the souls of the departed. He is Yama- 
Savitri. Tvashtri'is a personification of skill in divine work- 
manship, an Indian Hephaistos. We still meet with no abso- 
lute separate divinity except the Asura and the divine solar 
and light-god, whose names are numberless ; he is in reality 
the Savitri- Yama-Mitra-Pushan. So far as I am aware, 
Savitri, Pushan, and Tvashtri are purely Indian appellations ; 
whilst Yama and Mitra belong to the earlier period. 

26. Varuna. 

Prof. Mutter has remarked that an ' e advantage which the 
Veda offers is this, that in its numerous hymns we can still 
watch the gradual growth of the gods, the slow transition of 
appellations into proper names, the first tentative steps towards 
personification ;" and that " the feeling that the various deities 
are but different names, different conceptions of that Incom- 
prehensible Being which no thought can reach and no lan- 
guage express, is not yet quite extinct in the minds of some 
of the more thoughtful among the Vedic bards." t This Being 
is especially mirrored in the Vedic Varuna, whose name 
belongs to the period of Aryan unity, and who is identified by 
many with the Varena of the Vendidad. Varuna is "the 
Coverer," fc the Encompasser," the all-surrounding, all-space- 
filling. He is pre-eminently the AsuraJ and the King (naja), 
king of the universe, king of all that exists, king of gods and 
men, universal monarch, far-sighted and thousand-eyed. He 
made the revolving sun to shine, the wind is his breath, he 
witnesses man's truth and falsehood ; through him it is that 
though all the rivers run into one ocean yet they never fill 
it; his laws are immutable, and they rest upon him as on a 
mountain. He has fashioned and upholds heaven and earth, 
and dwells in all worlds, 

" Lives through all life, extends through all extent, 
Spreads undivided, operates unspent." 

He is frequently celebrated alone and frequently together with 
Mitra, and between the two the closest harmony exists. 

* Sup. sec. 23. f Lectures on the Science of Language, ii. 454. 

t "The epithet asura is frequently applied to Varuna in particular." 
(Muir, Sanskrit Texts, v. 61.) Of. Ecclesiastes i. 7. 


Mitra, on the other hand, is hardly ever hymned alone. 
Yaruna and Mitra together are styled sun-eyed, kings, strong, 
terrible (nidra), divine (asura), upholders of the earth and 
sky, placers of the sun in heaven, guardians of the world, 
awful divinities, haters of the lie, acquainted with heaven and 
earth, lords of truth and light who made wise the simple, and 
avengers and removers of sin.* In a word, Yaruna is the 
Asura, God Almighty ; and Mitra is the high and holy Sun- 
god, ever in the closest union and harmony with him. Yaruna 
can only be beheld in beatific vision : 

" When I have obtained a vision of Yaruna, 

I have regarded his lustre as resembling that of Agni."+ 
As Sir G. W. Cox well observes " a pure monotheistic convic- 
tion is pre-eminently seen in the following prayer :" J 

" Lef me not yet, Yaruna, enter into the house of clay, 
Have mercy, almighty, have mercy. 
If I go along trembling like a cloud driven by the wind, 
Have mercy, almighty, have mercy. 
Whenever we men, Yaruna, commit an offence before 

the heavenly host, 

Whenever we break thy law through thoughtlessness, 
Have mercy, almighty, have mercy. " 

And here we may inquire, Is Yaruna, the Asura, identical 
with Ahuramazda ? Windischmann thought not, and Prof. 
Spiegel seems inclined to agree with him ; but, on the other 
hand, Profs. Koth and Whitney are strongly in favour of the 
identity, which certainly is not denied either by Prof. Miiller 
or Dr. Muir ; whilst in my opinion, the recent researches of 
M. Darmesteter|| demonstrate their unity beyond reasonable 
doubt. With the degradation of Yaruna, the gradual process 
by which he was at length reduced to complete insignificance, 
I am not here concerned. 

27. Tlie Ameshaspentas and the Adityas. 

As Ahuramazda stands at the head of six divine personages, 
the Good-mind, Truth, Power, Piety, Health, and Immortality, 
the whole forming a sevenfold aspect of the One ; so, Asura- 
Yaruna stands at the head of six personages, the Friend, the 
Favourer, the Sympathizer, the Distributer, the Intelligent, 

* I omit for brevity references to texts in support of each of these state- 
ments, t Rig-Veda, VII. Ixxxviii. 2. 
J Mythology of the Aryan Nations, i. 331. 

Translated by Prof. Miiller in his History of Sanskrit Literature, 540. 
jj Ormazd et Ahriman, 1877. 


and the Personified Fire, a corresponding group though not 
perhaps quite so severely monotheistic. Mithra, excluded by 
an intensity of monotheism from the Iranian Seven, appears 
amongst the Vedic Seven,* but alike in both regions the gods, 
when traced to their origins, resolve themselves into Ahura 
and Mithra, Asura and Mitra. 

28. Martanda, the eighth Aditya. 

In Rig-Veda, X. 72, we read : 

" Let us celebrate with exultation the births of the gods. 
In the earliest age of the gods, the existent sprang from 
the non-existent." 

And after mentioning Aditi as the daughter of Daksha, the 
poet continues: 

" When ye, gods, like devotees, replenished the worlds, 
Then ye disclosed the sun which had been hidden in the 

Of the other sons who were born from the body of 

She approached the gods with seven, but cast away 

For birth as well as for death she disclosed Martanda." 

The important Satapatha-Brdhmana-f thus comments on 
the foregoing passage: " Aditi had eight sons. But there 
are only seven whom men call the A.ditya deities. For she 
produced the eighth, destitute of any modifications of shape 
(without hands and feet, etc.). He was a smooth lump. 1 ":]: 
Roth and Darmesteter render Martanda "Bird," in which case 
we should have the familiar myth of the Phoenix, the solar 
bird ; but the preferable derivation is from mrityu, " death," 
and anda, " egg," the name thus signifying " the Egg of 
Death." Prof. Miiller renders Martanda " Addled Egg/' but 
I do not think that such imperfection is intended. Martanda 

* For instances of the recurrence of the number seven, vide The Great 
Dionysiak Myth, ii. 225, et seq. 

t Brahmana signifies, " That which relates to prayer, brahman." The 
Brahmanas form the second portion of Vedic literature, each of the four 
Vedas being divided into Sanhita, Brahmana, and Sutra or " Band.'' The 
Brahmanas are founded upon the Sanhita, and the Sutras mainly upon the 
Brahmanas. The chief object of the latter " is to connect the sacrificial 
songs and formulas with the sacrificial rite. We find in them the oldest 
rituals, the oldest linguistic explanations, the oldest traditional narratives, 
and the oldest philosophical speculations." (Weber, History of Indian 
Literature, 2nd edit. 1878, p. 12.) 

% Apud Muir, Sanskrit Texts, iv. 15. 


differs from his seven brethren in two respects, in form and in 
being subject to death. Now his seven immortal brethren are 
of divine form, and it is undoubtedly implied that the divine 
form is also more or less anthropomorphic ; but Martanda is 
an egg, a circle,* a lump without hands and feet, in a word, 
the solar photosphere, the golden egg of the heavens, which 
dies daily. f Martanda is, as it were, thrown out by Aditi 
from the company of the gods and the splendours of the in- 
visible world, into the inferior, visible, and material world, to 
live and die daily in the sight of men. He is thus a type of the 
humiliation of the divine nature by its alliance with material 
form and subjection to death ; and so the converse of Yama, 
in which we see the human nature raised to the divine and 
perfected. And even the glorious sun himself, protagonist of 
materiality, when disgraced by idolatry becomes to us as it 
were Martanda, an addled egg ; even as that venerable relic 
the Brazen Serpent became Nehushtan, for fr The gods that 
have not made the heavens and the earth, they shall perish 
from the earth and from under these heavens. "J 

29. Soma. 

The Vedic divinity Soma affords an excellent instance of 
the process by which the human mind constantly converts into 
obscure mysteries things in themselves exceedingly simple. 
Soma is (1) a plant, the juice of which was largely used in con- 
nection with religious ritual ; and (2) the principle of 
humidity, which shows itself in rain, sap, dew, and otherwise. 
In illustration of this, it may be observed that in several pas- 
sages of the Atharva-Veda Soma is identified with the moon ; 
and it is stated that " the Sun has the nature of Agni, the 
moon of Soma ; " that is to say, the sun is igneous, the moon 
humid. The moon is the night- queen, and the night is the 
time of growth (symbolized by the increasing moon),|| dew 
and humidity generally. Thus Apollo is Sauroktonos, " the 
lizard-slayer," *[ for the lizard was a symbol of humidity 

- Plato's commendation of the circular form in the Timaios, may be 
accepted except so far as a tangible sentient divinity is concerned. Such a 

god must be more or less anthropomorphic, and will yet be the 
and tiKwv TOV ficoi) TOV aopdrov. 

f The egg-sun is familiar in Egypt (vide The Archaic Solar Cult of 
Egypt. By the Writer). In the frontispiece to The Great Dionysiak Myth, 
vol. ii., I have given a Hellenico-Egyptian representation of the winged sun, 
Dionysos Psilas (vide Pausanias, iii. 19), supported by the twin serpents of 
plenty. J Jer. x. 11. Vide sup. sec. 13. 

|| One of the Akkadian names of the moon is Enzuna, " the Lord of 
Growth." Of. Deut. xxxiii. 14: "The precious things put forth by the 
moon." ^[ Pliny, xxxiv. 8. 


because supposed to live upon the dew. We can therefore 
easily see the process by which Soma or humidity generally 
became identified with the moon, the queen of humidity. 
Soma is the Iranian Haoma, the Omomi of Plutarch,* and the 
whole of the ninth book of the Rig-Veda is devoted to its 
praise; illimitable power, benefit, and 'efficacy being ascribed 
to the personified King Soma, the Asura. Now, after making 
all due allowance for the wonder and delight which may have 
been produced in the human mind by wine (using that word in 
a general sense), and also for man's appreciation of, and thank- 
fulness for, moisture in its various forms, there still remains 
something unexplained and mysterious in the intensity of the 
Soma-cult and in the apparent extravagance of the Soma 
laudation. But the great idea behind these lower ones in- 
volves man's yearning for continued existence, and the line of 
thought is as follows : Moisture, drink, wine of heaven, 
water of life, renews the face of the earth, man and nature in 
the present physical and visible state of things. But man is to 
live hereafter in another and a higher world ; then must there 
be some subtle nektar, some elixir of immortality, which, when 
procured, shall be in him as a well of water springing up into 
everlasting life. This is the true Soina, of which the other is 
but the shadow, nor can it be too highly praised, too ardently 
desired. This view alone enables us to understand such 
aspirations as the following : 

" Where there is eternal light, in the world where the sun 

is placed, 

In that immortal imperishable world place me, Soma. 
Where life is free, in the third heaven of heavens, 
Where the worlds are radiant there make me immortal. 
Where there is happiness and delight, where joy and 

pleasure reside, 
Where the desires of our desire are attained, there make 

me immortal."t 

And this poetic prayer we might transcribe in words more 
familiar : May He who is the light of light,} dwelling in the 
world, whose sun goes not down, whose service is perfect 
freedom, in whose presence there is fulness of joy, and at 
whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore, clothe our 
mortal with immortality in the third heaven of heavens. || 
Speaking elsewhere of Dionysos as Theoinos, I have considered 

* Peri Is. Jcai Os. xlvi. f Rig-Veda, IX. cxiii. 7. 

4. " The Deity who is, as an ancient Christian lamp attests, $ 
(W. B. Cooper, in Faith and Free, Thought, 246.) 

2 Cor. xii. 2. || 1 Kings viii. 27. 


the Vedic Soma, tlie Iranian Haoma, the Assyrian cc water of 
life, the drink of the gods/' the living water of Egypt, the 
mead in the halls of Odhinn, and the bowls of wine in the 
Garden of Delight of the Koran, and in summing up the phase 
of Bakchos Theoinos, I observed : " We recognize reverence 
for the principle of humidity, without which all is parched and 
sterile, when earth pants and gasps under the influence of the 
burning Typhon, the scorching dog-star of ruin, the choking, 
rain-restraining Yedic snake, or the consuming Athamas. 
Opposed to these are the all-fostering Okeanos, the rivers, 
symbols of the force and flow of life, the beloved Zeus-rain, 
and Dionysos lord and first cause, not only of wine, but of the 
whole humid nature.* But, secondly, and distinct from the 
foregoing train of thought, is the yearning for immortality 
coupled with the idea that as ordinary food and drink sustain 
ordinary mortal existence, so superhuman nourishment, 
f angels' food,' will sustain, or is required to sustain, the im- 
mortal life, which it is possible for some at least to become 
possessed of."f 

30. The Physical Agni. 

A single Yedic divinity remains for examination, Agni, who 
stands in the front rank, and whose importance at once 
appears by the fact that no less than fifty-three out of one 
hundred and ninety-one hymns of the first book of the Rik 
are addressed to him either solely or with others. But Agni, 
who is seen in the West as ignis, a name, not a god, is a vast 
and difficult concept. We may, therefore, say with the 
Stranger in Plato's Sophistes, " The object of our inquiry is 
no trivial thing, but a very various and complicated one. 
This is a very questionable animal one not to be caught with 
the left hand, as the saying is."J Agni appears in almost as 
many aspects as Osiris, and therefore the question for con- 
sideration is, What concept of Agni will include all other 
narrower and derivative concepts, and hold true throughout 
their divergent modifications? Working from the known to 
the unknown, from the obvious to the obscure, we notice Agni 
in his first and simplest phase as ordinary terrestrial fire ; 
and as such he is described in the hymns with great power 
and variety of imagery. Thus, he is the son of the ten fingers 
and of the two sticks, wriggles like a serpent, cannot be 

* Plutarch, Peri Is. kai Os. xxxv. 
t The Great Dionysiak Myth, ii. 111. 
t R. W. Mackay, The Sophistes of Plato, p. 89. 

As to the " Suastika," a word which, according to some, is equivalent 



suckled by his mother, is butter-fed, and wind-driven, sees 
through gloom, has blazing hair, a golden beard, sharp 
weapons, and burning teeth, is footless and headless, 
thousand-eyed, thousand-horned, all-devouring, roars like 
thunder, like the wind, like a lion, bellows like a bull, has a 
hundred manifestations, and is the youngest of divinities, 
because constantly produced.* These physical epithets and 
characteristics require no explanation ; but what a world of 
simile and symbolism is involved in them, leading to subse- 
quent trope and metaphor still more obscure, and thus to 
mythologico-religious mystery. So the web of mythology 
is woven, and here we behold its pristine simplicity. 
And now let me ask, With what mental feeling did these 
Vedic Indians regard the Agni which they produced day 
by day ? Did they crudely worship) the mere flame in 
fetishistic imbecility ? To believe this would be to give the 
lie direct to every noble passage in the Veda, even to the very 
existence of these hymns, for no fetish worshipper would ever 
have produced a single strophe. Be fetishism ancient as well 
as modern, or modern only,f that the Yedic poets were 
infinitely superior to such grovelling concepts is as certain as 
any fact in history. Let those who are compelled by the 
necessities of theories of evolution, physical and mental, per- 
sistently endeavour to degrade archaic man. Freethought, 
truly so called, is warped by no such trammels ; and, whilst 
fully admitting that the Deity might, in the abstract, have 
worked by evolution as well as in any other way, believes that 
there is no real evidence He has done so, and that the whole 
theory is " not proven." And yet I would remark, in passing, 
that a man cannot fairly be made answerable for the follies of 
his extreme followers ; and that I respect the caution and 
wonderful powers of observation of a Darwin, as much as I 
despise the baseless dogmas of a Haeckel. The Indian Aryan, 
then, may not have known that heat was but ' ' a mode of 

to e v sffTt " as the sign of good wishes," P^, vide Schleimann, Troy and its 
Remains, 101, et seq.; Waring, Ceramic Art in Remote Ages, plates xli.-xliv. 
It appears equally in Akkad. " The ideograph -|-j with the determinative 
of wood, certainly appears to contain the elements of the primitive fire-stick." 
(Mr. St. Chad Boscawen in Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archceology, 
vi. 281.) The investigation into the pictorial meaning of the ordinary As- 
syrian cuneiform which, through the archaic Babylonian, still in numbers of 
instances directly or indirectly represents the object or idea signified by the 
word, is a study of the highest interest, and one which promises very im- 
portant results. 

* Gf. Yavishtha-Hephaistos i.e. Juvenis. 

t Vide Prof. Max Miiller's Paper, Is Fetishism a primitive form of Religion? 
(Macmillan, June 1878). 


motion/' but he certainly did know that flame was but flame. 
And why, then, did he so reverence it, for its physical aspect 
does not fully explain his respect ? Because he knew that the 
mere ordinary earthly flame, born so mysteriously, is but the 
last and lowest link in a wondrous chain, which includes all 
fire, aerial and celestial, all light, all heat, and hence all 
life ; a chain which descends from the abode of " those 
primeval heats whereby all life has lived," from the dwell- 
ing-place of Him who is f e a consuming fire." And this aspect 
of Agni will explain why the different divinities are identi- 
fied with him, and also his varied parentage. Thus, he is 
the son of heaven and earth, because they, regarded as the 
two halves of the all, necessarily include the sum total of 
igneous effulgence. He is the son of Dyaus alone, for he 
manifests himself in the visible sky, in lightning, and in the 
sun. He is produced by the dawn, a time when, as an old 
English poet tells us, " The light shoots like a streak of 
subtle fire." He is produced by Indra between two clouds, 
struck together like the sticks on earth. He is made by the 
gods, yet conversely he is also their sire ; for without Agni 
how could mortals know aught of the bright Devas, or how 
could they even exist ? Lastly, he is the son of Daksha 
and Aditi, that is to say, he is the manifestation of the 
Supreme Spirit throughout space. Whatever produces or 
occasions light and heat is the sire or mother of Agni ; and the 
result is real consistency accompanied by an apparent contra- 

31. Agni, a Combination and Manifestation of the Vedic 

Let us next notice how the Yedic divinities are identified 
with and combined in Agni. We read : 

" Thou Agni, art Indra, thou art Vishnu, the wide- 

Thou, Brahmanaspati, art a priest.* 
Agni, when kindled, is Mitra ; Yaruna is Javatedas/'f 

i.e. "All-possessing," a frequent epithet of Agni. 

" Thou, Agni, art born Yaruna, 
Thou art Aryaman in relation to maidens ; ^J^ 
In thee, son of strength, are all the gods. J 
Thou, Agni, art the royal Yaruna, 
Thou art Aryaman, thou art Tvashtri, 

Rig- Veda, II. i. 3. t Ibid. III. v. 4. J Ibid. V. iii. 1, 2. 



Thou art Mitra, thou art Eudra ; 
As Pushan, thou cherishes t those who offer worship. 
Thou art the divine Savitri, thou art Bhaga.* 
Thou encompassest the gods as the circumference the 
spokes (of a wheel) ."f 

By the sacred radiance of Agni 

" Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman, and Bhaga shine, J 
and through him they triumph, for he is the 

" Immortal sustainer of the universe, exempt from death. || 
Whatever other fires there may be, 
They are but ramifications, Agni, of thee.^f 
By thee, Agni, Varuna, and Mitra and Aryaman are ani- 

So that thou hast been born comprehending them all, 
Universally in all functions, 

And encompassing, as the circumference the spokes** 
Agni is associated with heaven and earth, 
As (a husband with) one only wife.ff 
I, Agni, am the living breath of threefold nature, 
The measure of the firmament, eternal warmth. J{ 
I offer praise to Agni, the creator, the first. 
He who has hidden darkness within light. 
He has spread out the two sustaining (worlds) like two 

skins : 

Vaisvanara comprehends all energy. || || 
A steady light, swifter than thought, 
Stationed among moving beings to show (the way) to 


Agni knows all that exists,*** 
Appropriates the prayers addressed to the Eternal 

Elsewhere a poet exclaims, 

"May our sin, Agni, be repented of ;"tJ{ 
and Agni, who is styled Asura, is besought to preserve from 

* Eig-Veda, II. i. f Ibid. V. xiii. 6. J Ibid. VIII. xix. 

Ibid. I. cxli. 9. || Ibid. I. xliv. 5. f Ibid. I. Ixix. 1. 

* Ibid. I. cxli. 9. ff Ibid. III. vii. 4. IT III. xxvi. 7. 

" Ibid. V. xv. 1. 

Ibid. VI. viii. 3. Vaisvanara signifies " He who is beneficial to all," 
like Mitra, " the Friend.' ; 1T1F Ibid. VI. ix. 5. *** Ibid. III. xii. 4. 

ttt Ibid. I. Ixxii. 1. On this passage Wilson observes, "This looks as if 
a first cause were recognized, distinct from Agni and the elemental deities." 
(Rig-Veda-Sanhita, i. 190.) ttj Ibid, I. xcvii. 1. 


sin.* I have alreadyf quoted the celebrated passage where 
Agni is said to be a name of the One, and is identified with 
Yama. As throughout this Paper I have as much as possible 
avoided, though by no means ignored, the mythological 
element, I shall not quote here any of the numerous passages 
which treat of the physical functions of Agni in connection 
with the Devas. But, on the foregoing extracts, we may 
observe that the identifications are not to be regarded as 
implying a strict and absolute monotheism, as if there were 
really only one god, Agni ; what they undoubtedly show is 
that all the divinities are of the same igneous nature, and 
that Agni who, in his lowest manifestation is ordinary earthly 
flame, in his highest is identical with Yaruna himself, is the 
Asura, ultimate source of all light, heat, life and energy. 
Agni as the ritual-fire, is a priest and sage, messenger and 
link between God and man, and bears to heaven the prayers 
addressed to the Eternal Creator. How clearly in these 
Hymns we see the struggle between monotheism and poly- 
theism ; the poets are apparently inconsistent and contra- 
dictory, there is but One and yet there are many ; there are 
many, but yet they are merely names of the One. Again 
and again through the increasing clouds of ignorance and 
error, the supreme form of the Asura of heaven breaks forth, 
upon His children like the blue sky of His abode. J 

32. Agni the highest Manifestation of Divinity. 
It is stated that, 

" The gods formed Agni for a threefold existence." 

According to the great commentator Yaska, B.C. 400, and hia 
predecessor Sakapuni, this triadic existence refers to the 
igneous principle (1) on earth, (2) in the air, and (3) in the 
sky, as fire, lightning and sun. In another passage Yaska 
observes : 

"Owing to the greatness of the Deity, the one Soul is 
lauded in many ways. The different gods are members of 
the one Soul. It is soul that is their car, steeds, weapon, 

* Rig-Veda, VI. xv. 12. f Sup. sec. 18. 

J Prof. Miiller observes that Vedic poets, Zoroastrian worshippers, 
Hebrew prophets, and Homeric singers " had no name for that which is 
the sky's own peculiar tint, the sky-blue, the cceruleum." (Contemporary 
Review, May, 1878, p. 230.) I do not feel sure of this. The blue, formerly 
bleue sky, is the blew-en or blown sky, from which the clouds are driven, 
so that the vault of heaven appears. In Assyrian the same ideograph stands 
for scmu, " blue," and samu, " sky ; " therefore in Mesopotamian regions, blue 
= sky colour. Rig-Veda, X. IxxxviiL 10. 


Arrows, soul is a god's all. There are three deities according 
to the etymologists; Agni, whose place is on earth; Vayu 
or Indra, whose place is in the atmosphere; and Surya, whose 
place is in the sky. These receive many designations in con- 
sequence of their greatness or from the diversity of their 

Yaska had before him the interpretations of Sakapuni and 
Aurnavabha, two very ancient and famous expounders of the 
Veda, so that he was well acquainted with archaic tradition ; 
and Dr. Muir observes on the passage that, 

" Agni, Yayu or Indra, and Surya appear to have been 
regarded in the time of Yaska as the triad of deities in whom 
the supreme spirit was especially revealed." 

And, according to Yaska, even these three "agree in one," 
and are merely protagonistic manifestations of the only Soul 
or Spirit. But by this time the One Spirit has become semi- 
pantheistic. According to a passage in the Atharva-Veda, 

" Agni becomes Varuna in the evening, rising in the morn- 
ing he is Mitra ; 

Becoming Savitri he moves through the air, becoming 
Indra he glows in the middle of the sky."f 

Agni is thus, 

" That light whose smile kindles the universe." 
Highest and brightest manifestation of divinity, 

" Ignis ubique latet, naturam amplectitur omnem." 
And according to the Avesta, 

" Son of Ahuramazda, giver of good, the greatest Yazata,"J 
and it is in this connection that Zarathustra styles himself 
" the supreme fire-priest," the priest of the Iranian Atash or 
Atar.|| Lastly, Agni, like Yama, conveys to bliss the soul of 
the righteous after death : 

' ' When thou hast matured him, Jatavedas, 
Then send him to the fathers. 

As for his unborn part,^f do thou kindle it with thy heat ; 
Let thy flame and thy lustre kindle it ; 

* Apud Muir, Sanskrit Texts, iv. 160. 

f Atharva-Veda, XIII. iii. 13. 

j Khurda-Avesta, xi. Sup. sec. 10. 


Atar et dOfivrj sont deux formations de la meme racine. II est im- 
possible de se"parer Atar du vedique athar, et entre athar et dOrjvij il y a, 
quant a la racine, le ineme rapport qu'entre la racine manth (dans pra- 
mantha}et la racine pavd dans Trpo/^-tue." (Darmesteter, Ormazd et Ahri- 
man, 34, note 3.) - IF The germ of immortality. 


With those forms of thine which are auspicious convey it 
to the world of the righteous." * 

33. The Essence of the Vedic Divinities. 

Such, then, are the Vedic divinities ; from being few they 
become many. In various passages thirty-three gods are 
alluded to, but, according to others, there are one hundred 
and eighty Maruts alone ; and elsewhere it is said that three 
thousand three hundred and thirty -nine gods have worshipped 
Agni. Thus Pantheons extend. As time goes on, other im- 
portant figures appear upon the stage ; Brahma, a personifica- 
tion of ' ' the magic power hidden in the sacred word and in 
prayers;"f Siva,J Krishna, but these are not Ye die divinities, 
and therefore do not concern us. Goddesses also play an im- 
portant part, a sure sign of degeneration ; the miserable 
doctrine of the transmigration of the soul, entirely unknown to 
the Rig-Veda, makes its appearance to the torment of man- 
kind ; and, after many a weary age, including the reaction of 
Buddhism and its suppression, we reach a vague and atheistic 
pantheism or a grovelling superstition ; a truly remarkable 
instance of mental evolution, although at the same time un- 
doubtedly a descent of man. And, amid the crowd of shadowy 
forms that make up the group of Yedic divinities, where do 
we find reality save in the Asura, Yaruna, Mitra, Surya- 
Savitri, Yama, and Agni ? And these, again, resolve them- 
selves into God, the sun-god, and the universal spirit of 
divinity. They are all known elsewhere; alike in name 
(Ahura, Ouranos, Mithra, Helios, Yima, Ogni) and in reality. 

34. The Law of Circle. 
Thus we can see how, long ere the days of Zoroaster, there 

* Big-Veda, X. xvi. 

t Tiele, Outlines of the History of the Ancient Religions, 125. 

J Siva, " the Gracious," is merely a euphemistic appellation of Sarva, 
"the Wrathful/' And Sarva, in torn, is merely an epithet of Eudra con- 
sidered as the Mahadeva (Megastheos) or " Great god." And Rudra, " the 
Terrible," is as noticed (sup. sec. 19;, merely an epithet of Agni Thus 
much out of little. The Hindu Trimurti, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, is a 
modern philosophical concept, arbitrarily attached to these names. (Vide 
Tiele, Outlines, 153.) 

m Krishna, the Black," " the hidden sun-god of the night " (Tiele, Out- 
lines, 145), is undoubtedly a very ancient mythological figure, but probably 
non- Aryan in origin. The nocturnal sun is a remarkable feature in Egypt 
and Akkad, and the dark colour harmonizes with the complexion of those 
dusky races who were subdued by the lighter Semites and Aryans. Shem 
is probably connected with the Assyrian samu, ll brownish," and Japhet (nP) 
with ippu, " white," ippatu, " white race." ( Vide Rev. Prof. Sayce, Assyrian 
Lectures, 145.) 


existed a practical monotheism, to which he endeavoured to 
return, as good men in all ages have looked back wistfully to 
a " higher, holier, earlier, purer church." It is easy to deny 
this great fact on the ground that we everywhere encounter 
numbers of figures of divinities; but a careful analysis of 
these shadows will resolve them into their kindred air, and 
the result will be the same, whether the process is applied in 
Vedic India, or in Iran, Scandinavia, Germany, Italy, or 
Greece. Nor does this principle obtain in Aryan regions only. 
Prof. Sayce affirms* that Babylonian and Akkadian religious 
mythology is essentially solar ; that is, that we shall meet 
again with Mitra and Savitri and Yama and Agni, under other 
names indeed, but veritably the same personages in reality ; 
and M. Chabas, who is well entitled to speak for Egypt, says 
that " the Egyptian doctrine revealed to the initiated the 
unity and incomprehensibility of God, while the multitude was 
abandoned tothecult ofmaterial symbols.^f And thesemoderns 
have been anticipated by an ancient writer, who has left it on 
record that 

, T cAuroc, Hav, Zeuc TC, feat 


The theory of an archaic monotheism has been objected to on 
the ground that the instance of Plato and the other philo- 
sophical Greeks of the great ages shows that the monotheistic 
idea is the culmination and end, not the beginning of human 
thought. But the reply is obvious. Doubtless it required the 
intellectual might of a Plato to free the human mind from the 
meshes of a long -established polytheism, but there is no evi- 
dence that any such powers are needed for the original recep- 
tion of the simple truth that ' ' there is one God, and none other 
but He/' Monotheism is simpler than polytheism, even as 

* " The more the Babylonian mythology is examined, the more solar is 
its origin found to be ; thus confirming the results arrived at in the Aryan 
and Semitic fields of research." Except Ann and Hea, " the great deities 
seem all to go back to the Sun " (Trans. Spc. Bib. Archceol. ii. 246, note). 
We are thus, it will be observed, left with a triad, namely (1) Anu, 
Akkadian Ana, " the High " God : called Zi-Ana, " Spirit of the heavens ; " 
Pater. (2) The Sun-god ; Potentia. (3) Hea, the lord of wisdom and of 
the deep, called Hea- Ana, Grk. Cannes, "the god Hea," Mens. 

t Records of the Past, x. 6. " There may be truth in the assertion that 
the esoteric religion of ancient Egypt centred in a doctrine of divine unity, 
manifested through the heterogeneous crowd of popular deities." (Tylor, 
Primitive Culture, ii. 322.) 


one is simpler than numbers. And the Platonic age affords us 
an illustration of that mysterious Law of Circle, which rules 
alike in nature and in thought. The heavenly bodies, circular 
in form, constantly describe their circling movements ; the sun 
has his zodiac, and annus the year is but annulus, a ring. 
Eternity is fitly symbolized as a serpent, tail in mouth, and 
"He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth/' has, from 
remote antiquity, been described as a circle whose centre is 
everywhere, and its circumference nowhere. Nature abhors 
a straight line as she is said to abhor a vacuum, and Nature is 
" the earliest gospel of the wise ; " poetry, philosophy, religion 
are essentially cyclic, and history repeats itself.* Human 
progress is no straight line of continuous advance. The 
world-poet saw this when he spoke of " the whirligig of time/' 
and told us that " our little life is rounded." And the great 
truth is " an anchor of the soul/' for it assures us that as from 
God we come, so to God we shall return. The poor, blind, 
stumbling world, at whose ignorance heaven winked, despised 
by chosen nations and peculiar people, still dreamed of its 
divine Asura, still chanted that archaic song heard amid the 
oaks of Dodona, " Zeus was, Zeus is, Zeus will be, O great 
Zeus ! "f or raised the piteous cry, " Doubtless thou art our 
Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel 
acknowledge us not; thou, O Lord, art our Father, our 
Redeemer." And in the latest days of the old-world of 
heathenism, "a pagan suckled in a creed out-worn/' could 
yet so distinguish substance amid shadow and reality from 
illusion, as, addressing the Asura of heaven by a name 
known centuries earlier on the banks of the Indus, and 
grasping the grand principle of circle, to exclaim : 

" Thou whose power o'er moving worlds presides, 
Whose voice created, and whose wisdom guides I 
From thee, great Zeus ! we spring, to thee we tend, 
Path, motive, guide, original, and end ! " 

* Thus the philosophical Thucydides is satisfied if his history " is judged 
useful by those who may desire an accurate knowledge of the past as a clue 
to that future which, in all human probability, must repeat or resemble the 
past." (Prof. Jebb, Greek Literature, 108.) 

f Pausanias, x. 12. " There is little or no trace of mythology in this " 
[song]. (Prof. Max Miiller, Lectures on the Science of Language, ii. 482.) 
As Prof. Jebb well observes, " There was a time when they [i.e. archaic men] 
had begun to speak of the natural powers as persons, and yet had not forgotten 
that they were really natural powers, and that the personal names were merely 
signs." (Greek Literature, 16. Vide sup. sees. 6, 21, 30.) 




1. The Classics on the date of Zoroaster. 

2. The name " Magian." 

3. Is Zoroaster an historical personage ? His name. 

4. Further Classical references to Zoroaster. 

5. Iranian Sacred Literature. 

6. Mythology and Religion. 

7. Character and contents of the Gdthas. 

8. Agriculture as a sacred Duty. 

9. The Zoroastrian theory of the Twin Spirits. 

10. The protest against the Devas and their worship. 

11. History of the name Asura ; meaning of ' Ahuramazda.' 

12. The Devas and the Deva-cult. 

13. The Soma-orgies, and the Bridge of the Judge. 

14. The Ameshaspentas. 

15. Mithra. 

16. Mithra and the Gdthas. 

17. Ahurainazda as the Creator. 


18. Various modern theories respecting the nature of Vedic Belief. 

19. The Vedic Divinities. 

20. Analysis of the Vedic Divinities. 

21. Natural objects merely so regarded. 

22. The Forms of Deity. 

23. The Sun. 

24. Yama. 

25. The Semi-solar Light gods. 

26. Varuna. 

27. The Ameshaspentas and the Adityas. 

28. Martanda, the eighth Aditya. 

29. Soma. 

30. The physical Agni. 

31. Agni, a combination and manifestation of the Vedic Divinities. 

32. Agni, the highest manifestation of Divinity. 

33. The Essence of the Vedic Divinities. 

34. The Law of Circle. 




P. 8. Earliest Notice of the Avesta. 

The earliest historical notice of the Avesta occurs at the close of the 
Median version of the Behistun (i.e. Baz-istan, " Place of the god") Inscrip- 
tion of Darius Hystaspes, cir. B.C. 516. This Inscription, which is about 
400 feet from the ground on the rock of Behistun, near the western frontier 
of Mada (Media, i.e. " the country "), and contains more than 1,000 lines of 
cuneiform writing, concludes : 
" And Darius the Bang says : 

' I have made also elsewhere a book in Aryan language, that formerly 

did not exist. 

And I have made the text of the Divine Law (Avesta), and a com- 
mentary of the Divine Law, and the prayer, and the translation. 
And it was written, and I sealed it. 

And then the ancient book was restored by me in all nations, and the 
nations followed it.' " (Translated by Dr. Oppert in Records of the 
Past, vii. 85, et seq.) 

Darius thus made a translation of the Avesta from the original Baktrian 
into the Persian of the Achaemenian period. 

P. 11. Dialect of the Gdthas. 

For an account of the linguistic peculiarities of the Gdthas, vide Prof. 
C. de Harlez, Manuel de la Langue de VAvesta, 105, et seq. 

P. 14. Non-reality. 

Expressions such as "non-reality," "nonentity" (Rig-Veda, X. cxxix. 1), 
and the like, when occurring in archaic poetry, are used in a physical not in 
a metaphysical sense, and refer to what may be called Primitive Negative 
Concepts (vide Dr. Hyde-Clarke, Researches in Pre-historic and Proto- 
histonc Comparative Philology, 21, et seq.). Amongst these are Woman, i.e. 
Not-man, Night, Darkness, Black, Evil (Not-good), Not (i.e. nought), Death, 
Dream, Shadow. The reappearance of heaven and earth after the darkness 
of night is regarded by the Vedic poets as a sort of re-creation, a rescue from 
the realm of non-reality. 

P. 19. Asu-Asura. 

" The root as, which still lives in our is, existed in its abstract sense pre- 
vious to the Aryan separation. The simplest derivation of as, to breathe, 
was as-u, in Sanskrit, breath ; and from it probably asu-ra, the oldest name 
for the living gods." (Prof. Miiller, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of 
Religion, 191-2.) Prof, de Harlez gives in his Lexicon, " Anhu (ah, etre-f- 
asu). 1. Monde. 2. Mai tre, chef" ; and " ahu (ah+asu), etre,vie,monde. 
maitre, chef." The Vedic s, except sometimes in a final syllable, appears 
in the language of the Avesta as h ; e.g. Sonia, Haoma ; Asura, Ahura. 


P. 20. The Deva and Ahura Cults. 

M. Julius Jolly has recently remarked that "the theory of a religious 
schism, which was supposed by Dr. Haug to have brought about the separa- 
tion of the Iranians from their Indian neighbours, has been entirely dis- 
posed of by M. Darmesteter's researches, and the revolution theory has been 
replaced by an evolution theory/' (Academy, February 1, 1879, p, 102.) I 
greatly admire M. Darmesteter^s very able work (Ormazd et Ahriman) but 
am unable to come to any such conclusion. Haug has probably pushed his 
views on the matter too far, and three of the demons of the infernal council 
of Ahriman, i.e. Saurva, Andra, and Naonhaithya, in all probability are not 
identical with the Vedic Shiva or Siva, Indra and the Nasatyas or Asvins. 
But thus much granted, the conclusion by no means follows. The remark- 
able career of the words deva and asura appears to be regarded by M. 
Darmesteter as " an accident of language." But to say that such and such 
a circumstance happened to occur is a re -statement of the fact, not an ex- 
planation. Moreover, M. Darmesteter's theory depends upon the negation 
of an historical Zoroaster, a negative which is incapable of demonstration. 
Hang's views are in the main accepted by Bunsen, Max Diincker (Geschichte 
des Alterthums), Lenormant (Manual of the Ancient History of the East), 
and Justi (Handbuch der Zendsprache), and are not denied by Prof. Spiegel. 

P. 31. The name " Avesta" 

Dr. Oppert observes that in the Behistun Inscription, clause li. " the 
Persian affords us the true origin of the word Avesta. It is Abastd, the 
Divine Law ; it is explained by the Assyrian Kinat, the laws." (Records of 
the Past, vii. 107, note 1.) 

P. 36. The Connection between Agni and Soma. 

As to the very intimate connection between Agni and Soma, who some- 
times form a dual divinity, Agni-Shomau, and represent two variant yet 
constantly intertwining phases of the Visible-external in its relations with 
the Invisible-external, vide M. Abel Bergaigne, La Religion Vedique d'apres 
les Hymnes du Rig-Veda, tome premier, 11-235. 

P. 47. The Unanthropomorphic Sun. 

As Martanda, the Vedic egg-sun, is " a smooth lump, destitute of any 
modifications of shape," so in the Egyptian Funereal Ritual, cap. xlii., we 
read of the justified and triumphant Uasarian, or follower of Osiris, who 
has been made like his lord, the Sun-god, that, 

" He is in the [Solar] Eye and the [Solar] Egg. 
He is the Day for race after race of men. 
He is the Germ emanating from the firmament. 
He is the Golden Ape of the gods without hands or feet. 
He goes forth, the Ape goes forth " [on his celestial path]. 


The CHAIRMAN. I am sure our thanks are due to Mr. Brown for his very 
interesting paper : it is now open for any one to offer remarks thereon. 

Rev. Dr. EULE. I have read Mr. Brown's paper as carefully as possible, 
and should be glad if he would instruct us as to some conclusions, towards 
which the particulars we have in his paper do not in my opinion lead us. The 
cry certainly is not piteous wherewith the Hebrew acknowledged God to be 
his father, " father of Abraham "; and here I cannot exactly understand why 
we should limit our recognition of the Godhead to Zeus. With regard to 
Zoroaster, I believe the main doctrine of that author was that of duality that 
of two gods, a god of darkness and a god of light. We have a book which 
contains a distinct historic reference to this idea. We have in that book the 
name of a person distinctly known in history, whose successor Darius, son of 
Hystaspes, waged war against Magism, which was associated with Zoroastri- 
anism. We find there a doctrine against that duality, and I think we have 
materials there, which are distinctly historic, and the account of God which 
we have, is not imbued with the vague superstitions of heathenism, but it is 
distinctly stated at the very beginning of the Bible and is historically con- 
tinued all through as revealed monotheism as proved by all prophecy, 
prophecy fulfilled, associated and linked in with the general history of the 
whole world. It does appear to me, whilst anxious to second the vote of 
thanks to Mr. Brown for the great pains he has taken with this paper, that we 
should be anxious inquirers into Eevealed Truth. I think if we were to take 
some firm basis in regard to this great subject of monotheism whereon to 
rest our researches, we should obtain some place on which to rest our inquiry. 
I think, however, that Mr. Brown's paper has tended to furnish us with a 
very striking illustration of an undoubted proof, that none, by searching, can 
find out God ; and that those historians who have searched have most singu- 
larly failed, and have deprived us of any idea that the notion of Professor 
Muller, which is adopted very warmly by Mr. Brown, will ever be realized. 
The words are these, and I think more distinctly than in any other part of 
the paper, they express the conclusions arrived at at the foot of page 33 : 

" However, ere examining the principal Vedic concepts, we may remember 
with comfort a statement of Professor Muller, which is not based upon any 
particular passage or passages, but upon a wide and careful investigation of 
the subject, a statement which has my warmest assent, ' Like an old precious 
metal, the ancient religion, after the rust of ages has been removed, will 
come out in all its purity and brightness, and the image which it discloses 
will be the image of the Father, the Father of all the nations upon earth." 

Now, it does seem ungrateful very ungrateful to forget that Divine 
Revelation and the coming of Christ into the world have not thrown the rust 
of ages upon the ancient truth, but have rather removed the rust of ages and 
brought life and immortality to light, and that whatever great change in the 
world has taken place in religion since the time of Zoroaster, must be 
attributed to that Divine interpretation which we find recorded in the Bible. 
Therefore, I should be glad if we could be conducted by Mr. Brown to a 


more definite conclusion than that with which he has favoured us, and I 
trust that he will accept my strictures in the spirit of courtesy and kindness 
in which I have intended to give them. 

Mr. ENMORE JONES. I am sorry that I have not been able thoroughly to 
study the paper, and would ask the author whether he could favour us with 
his idea as to when Zoroaster really lived ? The last speaker has referred 
to revelation. Before he spoke, I had in my mind the fact that there is a book 
called Job, which contains a clear statement as to the Great One God, and 
therefore I felt anxious to know whether Job was first or Zoroaster. 

Mr. BROWN. On page 8 I give as a conclusion that as to date, the compo- 
sition of the Gathas may be fairly placed at some time prior to B.C. 1200, 
and Zoroaster may be put from 1500 B.C. to 1200 B.C. 

Mr. JONES. There seems at any rate to be a vagueness about the date, 
whereas if we take Job, as a book of itself, it has a clear and definite idea 
given in it of the Creator 2,300 B.C. say one thousand years before 
Zoroaster ; .and it has this advantage, that it contains a series of historical 
incidents. I think it is very important that in searching amongst the 
ancients for the philosophy of the ancients, we should not forget the vital 
knowledge we have through the Scriptures. We have the Jewish Scriptures 
and the Christian Scriptures ; and they both certainly teach us that there 
is one God, that He is the one God, the Creator, the Preserver, and Governor, 
not only of all the countries of this world, but of the universe. I must say 
it struck me that in the history we call our Scriptures, we have a much 
clearer narrative there of the workings of the Deity in nature than we have 
in Zoroaster, or in any other teacher. I think that the principles which have 
guided the Institute ought to be kept clearly before our minds. 

Mr. J. E. HOWARD, F.E.S. I should like to make a few observations aa 
to the age of Zoroaster and his religion. I do not wish to put aside the very 
well-intentioned observations of those who have preceded me ; but I think 
there is another aspect of the question , to which they have not perhaps given 
as much attention as they might have done. I refer to the very interesting 
abstract which this paper contains of the doctrines of Zoroaster. And suggest 
that it becomes the duty of our missionaries and those who are in contact 
with the Parsees in India, to make themselves acquainted with the religion 
which they have there to combat ; otherwise they might be placed under a 
great disadvantage. Perhaps it may be known to some here, that a great 
controversy took place on the occasion of one of the Parsees being converted 
to the Christian faith, when the Parsees took up many popular ideas, and 
showed that theirs verged very much on the Zoroastrian religion. For 
instance, that popular hymn well, I cannot call it that, but that trans- 
lation of an old Koman verse 

" Vital spark of heavenly flame ! 
Quit, quit, this mortal frame." 

That is entirely, though unintentionally, Parseeisin. This controversy shows 
that, at all events, the Christians who come in contact with these doctiines 


ought to know very well what they are about ; I trust that the writer of 
this paper has no intention to depreciate Christianity by those expressions 
which have been noticed by previous speakers. The great idea which he 
endeavours to bring out, that monotheism is really at the bottom of this 
religion, is no doubt correct. The question as to the age of Zoroaster 
is a very difficult one, and I confess that I cannot get at the bottom of it. 
I have studied the very elaborate examination, by Dr. Chwolson, of St. 
Petersburg, of Eastern authorities respecting this matter ; and he seems to 
prove that the change in the religion of Persia is from Sabaism to the 
religion of Zoroaster. Early idolatry began, according to the Eastern 
authorities, with Tamniuz. Dr. Chwolson says (L p. 347) that we know 
almost nothing of the religion of the old Persians, and that it would not be 
correct to identify that which prevailed in the northern provinces with the 
peculiar Persian religion. In Bactria and Media the religion of the reformer 
Zoroaster was prevailing long before Cyrus ; but the old Persians were pro- 
bably no adherents of the religion of Zoroaster, but, as the geographer 
Dimesqui asserts, were Sdbians. " In early days men worshipped God 
and the angels whom He sent " (vol. ii. pp. 606, 459, 206), but Tammuz 
endeavoured to lead his sovereign into idolatry, to worship the heavenly 
host ; and to consider the stars, and particularly the planets, as the gods 
and directors of mankind ; who governed everything that took place on 
earth. The result of this was that, according to the tradition, Tammuz 
was put to death by his sovereign ; and his bones were ground in a 
mill, and scattered to the winds. He was put to death in a very cruel 
way ; and in consequence of his death all the gods came together at a 
temple in Babylon, and spent the whole night in weeping and bewailing 
the death of this prophet ; and then betook themselves to their respective 
homes all over the world. This gave occasion to the ceremony of weeping 
for Tammuz, which is alluded to in our prophets. They kept up that festival, 
with this peculiarity about it, that the women were not allowed during its 
course to have anything that was ground in a mill, because the bones of 
Tammuz had been ground in a mill. Now, this was a world-old institution. 
[According to Mr. Boscawen, " the god Tammuz is evidently the Dumzi," 
the son of life, " to seek whom Ishtar descends into Hades." The deification 
of Tammuz, and the complication with, perhaps, a solar myth, seems 
engrafted on the original story. More light will probably be thrown on the 
obscurities of the subject. In the mean time, the tradition strongly indicates 
that, before the introduction of idolatry, a purer religion prevailed. The 
attempt to restore this is perhaps to be attributed to Zoroaster. Is it not 
probable that he is identical with Budasp ? (confounded with Buddha) ; of 
whom Masudi relates that he came from India, travelled through Sind, 
Segestan, and Zabulistan, and again to Kerman ; until at last he came to 
Persia, everywhere giving himself out as a prophet, and maintaining that he 
was one sent from God, and a mediator between Him and his creatures. This 
took place, according to some, in the reign of the Persian king Thamurath ; 
according to others, in the time of the King Jemschid. Chwolson, vol. i. 


p. 208.] I hope that the subject will be again taken up by some member 
of the Institute. 

Mr. MACDONELL. I am much pleased to hear the remarks of the last 
speaker. I think that two of the previous speakers have not done sufficient 
justice to this remarkable and interesting paper, one that evidently con- 
tains the result of very great information and research, a paper that ought 
not to be treated in a light manner. It is full of other persons' thoughts, and 
containing authorities that are not within the reach of most people. It gives 
extracts from literature of a most interesting character, and quotes novel 
and beautiful poetry. Now, it seems to me that the paper is not open to 
the observations made by the first speaker. So far as I can gather from 
the statements that were made, there was no such feeling as he referred to 
running through the paper at all. On the contrary, frequent allusions were 
made in the paper by which we were reminded of the superiority of the 
Scriptures. So far as I understand the paper, it goes to show that, even in 
early times, there was a groping after some form of monotheism. This of 
itself would be a most valuable result. Having said so much in praise of 
the paper, may I be permitted to put one or two questions to the lecturer ? 
I was curious to see what opinion the lecturer had arrived at as to the 
precise age at which Zoroaster lived. At page 2 he states that Endocos and 
Aristotle placed Zoroaster 6,000 years before the time of Plato, and 
Hermippos placed the age of Zoroaster 5,000 years before the Trojan war ; 
while another authority, Masudi, gives another date, namely B.C. 600. 
Mr. Brown himself arrived at a fourth opinion, which was somewhat different. 
With respect to the ground upon which he arrived at that opinion, or, in 
fact, the grounds upon which he has arrived at any of his opinions, I 
think there is room for further enlightenment. It is one thing to know 
when Zoroaster lived, and it is another, almost as important, to know whether 
he lived at all ; and I think this is fairly open to doubt. At page 3 we 
have the opinion of Sir H. Kawlinson, to the effect that Zoroaster was 
" the personification of the old heresionym of the Scythic race." At the same 
page we have the opinion of a learned foreigner, M. Darmesteter, who 
regards Zoroaster as " one of the many bright powers of heaven who fight in 
an almost endless strife against the powers of darkness and evil f and at 
page 4 we have the statement of Mr. Brown himself that the question whether 
Zoroaster lived or not is of comparatively little importance. Then, further 
on, it is said that Zoroaster might be regarded as the founder of a religion and 
as one who was essentially a reformer ; and, if so, I suppose that at some time 
or other he lived. I should like to know from Mr. Brown whether there are 
any solid grounds for believing that Zoroaster was an historical personage, or 
whether Zoroaster is merely the name in which was included a vast number 
of religious reformers and teachers, perhaps of different ages ? There is 
another remark I should like to make. I would venture to ask whether the 
method of inquiry pursued by the lecturer in the latter portion of the paper, 
is a method of inquiry that is likely to result in really sound conclusions ? 
It seemed to me that the mode of reasoning which he followed was one which 


might lead to false conclusions. He took up a divinity named Agni, and 
endeavoured to find the various forms under which that divinity was expressed 
and discovered. He found a constant reference to fire, and then grouping the 
various descriptions together, he arrived at the conclusion that Agni was the 
God of fire. Now I think this is a dangerous way of reasoning. Suppose 
that 5,000 years hence some person with the same means of reasoning with 
respect to our society, as Mr.Brown has with respect to ancient Persia, should 
get information with respect to ghosts that have been seen in the 19th 
century, and putting all together should ask himself what there was in 
common ? Mr. Brown has found that by common consent Agni in all respects 
was fire. What would a person considering the question of ghosts 5,000 
years hence find ? He would observe that they were always seen robed in 
white, and probably conclude that the idea of a ghost in the 19th century, by 
common consent, was inseparably connected with white calico. (Laughter.) 
Such a course of reasoning strikes me as rather dangerous, and I would 
suggest that Mr. Brown should state what portion of his paper he really 
considers conjecture, and what portion he considers as sound and based upon 
undoubted evidence. I think that there are two elements in the paper we 
have heard to-night, and that the valuable element which I have referred 
to is of no small extent. (Hear, hear.) 

Mr. D. HOWARD. I think the subject of the paper well worthy of careful 
consideration, for it involves the whole question of early religions. There is 
a certain school of thought which tells us with all the boldness which modern 
scientists alone can command, especially when they are not quite sure of their 
subject, that man is an improving subject, and that man's religion in the be- 
ginning was -not monotheism. It does seem to me that the more we study the 
early histories of religious thought, the more profoundly we are convinced 
that there is no truth whatever in this conception. I should not venture to 
enter into the question as to how far Zoroaster was responsible for the dualism 
in which his followers indulged ; but still it is most interesting to find that 
at that early age you have a reformer appealing not to progress, but to 
antiquity. He does not appeal to the growing intellect of man, but he appeals 
to antiquity. He looks back to monotheism, not forward ; and I say that 
from this point of view we cannot too carefully consider this ancient record. 
It is still more interesting to find the same monotheistic idea running through 
the religious books even of those he opposed. It is, indeed, true that there 
is a school of thought which goes to those books to find the origin of the Old 
Testament revelation. We may study Plato to see what the lights of the 
Greek mind were, and we may study St. Paul without thinking that St. Paul 
borrowed from Plato, and it seems to me that we may well study the longings 
of the human mind for a purer religion, that purer religion being monotheism ; 
and we shall find that in the past and better ages the religion of our fathers 
was monotheism. Any one coming fresh to the confused thoughts and to 
the muddled ideas of the books we have been considering, will all the more 
value the ideas contained in the book of Job, and it is interesting to find in 
that book those allusions to kissing the hand to the sun, which was the very 



beginning of that nature-worship which has degenerated into that horrible 
and barbarous system which we now see practised in India. Then, again, it 
is interesting to watch those attempts at reformation that are not founded 
upon revealed religion, but on human intellect . Another thing which renders 
the Zendavesta and Persian thought a matter of interest, is the amazing 
influence the Persian thought had on early Christian thought and on the 
speculations of the Gnostics. 

Eev. J. JAMES. I should be glad to say a word or two in the same 
direction that has been pursued by the last two speakers ; namely, that I do 
not see in the paper the slightest tendency to disparage the revelation we 
have in the Bible. On the contrary, every reference to the Christian faith 
in this paper is a loyal and warm tribute to the doctrines of the Gospel I 
wish also to say that I look upon the paper as a very valuable contribution 
to the true philosophy of Religion. As has been observed by the last speaker, 
it seems to be a valuable contribution to the argument, that the degraded forms 
of religion which are found in all the heathen nations of the earth are not 
aboriginal, but descendants from an original higher height, and that that 
higher height is the highest height of monotheism. One passage has been 
referred to as an objectionable one, but which I must say, in my opinion, is 
a very valuable thought. It is Max Miiller who says, " like an old precious 
metal, the ancient religion, after the rust of ages has been removed, will 
come out in all its purity and brightness, and the image which it discloses 
will be the image of the Father, the Father of all the nations upon earth." 
True, the Gospel supplies us with religion free from rust ; but what we 
want is to see that that rust which has grown upon the earlier and purer 
forms of pagan faiths is capable of being rubbed away, and that underneath 
we shall find tokens if not proofs of an aboriginal religion, which is a faith in 
the one God. I wish to join in the thanks to the author of the paper for his 
valuable contribution to this important argument. I should like to know, 
with reference to the passage in Greek given in the paper, where the words 
are taken from. The words are these : 

HtpasQovrj, Ajj/i/jrTjp, KuTrpig, "Epwreg, 

/7(,' 0' 9 "H<paiffTOQ Tf. K\VTOG, Tldv, ZSUQ re, KO.I Hpj;, 
*Aprt/U, r}d' 'EKotpyog 'ATroXAwi/, fig 6*05 CCFTIV." 

Mr. BROWN. I believe the passage is quoted in Athenaeus and I think 
it has been attributed to Herrnesianax. 

Mr. J. FERGUSON (Ceylon). Seventeen years' residence in the East has 
led me to think that one important point in the preparation for missionary 
work is a knowledge of the religious beliefs of the people among whom 
Christianity is to be taught, and a sympathy, so far as possible, with precepts 
and doctrines not distinctly evil in their tendency. I believe our most suc- 
cessful missionaries in the East have been those who have not only learnt 
the language of the people amongst whom they have laboured, but who 
have been enabled to translate their sacred and other notable books, and 
thus to obtain the sympathies of the enlightened among the natives. I 


think that this paper will be particularly valuable to Christian teachers 
going to work in Northern and Western India, and Persia, and I hope 
that it may pass through the hands of our more enlightened fellow-subjects in 
India. I think the value of such papers as this is very great to missionaries 
going to the East, who ought to get an idea of the religions they are about 
to controvert. 

Captain F. PETRIE. We all know that it is unfortunately too common 
a thing to find people in these days going into such inquiries as Mr. Brown 
has, with a very small portion of the abilities that he has brought to 
the task ; such inquirers are unhappily only too eager to publish to the 
world the results of their investigations, which being imperfect, and generally 
very incorrect, naturally give false impressions ; it is amongst the writings of 
such inquirers that the advocates of infidelity find weapons forged for their 
use. I think we may congratulate ourselves that the subject of inquiry in 
the present paper has been taken up by Mr. Brown, for few in England 
have had the training to enable them to take up the subject and investigate 
it with understanding as he has done. 

Mr. BROWN. I have to thank the meeting for the attention they have 
given to my paper, and, at the same time, to say a few words on one or two 
points which seem to require a reply. Dr. Rule has said that the Hebrew 
cry was not piteous, I did not say that it was ; but that the words were 
spoken in that piteous way in which enlightened man would speak. He 
doubted whether the conception of Zoroaster was monotheism, and remarked 
that it was mere duality ; but he did not allude to the opinions of the latest 
investigators on this point, and he quoted the Scripture " Canst thou by 
searching find out God 1 " I would answer by another passage of Scripture 
" You shall find me if you seek me with your whole heart." Mr. Jones 
followed, and seemed to hope that I had not intended to degrade Christianity. 
Certainly not. I can yield to no man present in my respect for Christianity 
and the Holy Scriptures. The object of this paper is their defence, and I 
should have thought it almost unnecessary to point it out. I am glad 
to find that other speakers have relieved me from the charge. This 
paper was not written merely for persons who accept Holy Scripture. It 
is a paper intended for the whole world. The object of this society is to 
set forth the truth of religion, and in doing so it must start from a common 
basis. It is no good appealing to people on grounds which your opponents 
disavow. You must say " I will look at the question from your own point 
of view " : that is the basis of this paper, and that is why extracts from the 
Scriptures are not more introduced, as the second speaker appeared to wish. 
The object is to show that the statements of the Bible are supported by history. 
We believe the Bible to be inspired ; but, at the same time, we are not on 
that account to neglect the teachings of nature. We should make a threefold 
cord that cannot be easily broken. This paper, I trust, may be examined by 
people who have not a belief in Holy Scripture. If it only has the effect of 
bringing them to a more careful study of these questions, it will lead 
towards the truth. Mr. Howard has alluded to Taiumuz as a prophet. 


I think that he will find that Tamumz is the Assyrian Dumtizi, and that 
the women who wept for him wept for the setting sun. One gentleman has 
alluded to the great differences of opinion which exist as to the age of Zoroaster. 
I have given all the different opinions as to the age of Zoroaster, not because 
I follow them, but because I wish to give something like literary completeness 
to my paper. The highest authorities, who have devoted many years to this 
subject, place him at B.C. 1400, or 1300, and they educe this from the 
progressive state of the language. That is the chief means of fixing his date. 
As to the evidence, that is also comparative. You cannot call direct evidence 
of the original fact whether there was such a man or not, but I will read you 
a letter which I have received from Professor Sayce, of Oxford : 

" I am altogether of your way of thinking in regard to the historical 
personality of the Iranian prophet. The character of Zoroastrianism seems 
to me to postulate an individual founder, just as much as Christianity, 
Muhammedanism, or Buddhism." 

One gentleman has objected to my analysis of the Vedic Agni, and asked 
how it was that he was fire ? We have the word " ignis," and we know that 
" ignis " means " fire." As to mythology and religion, my meaning is simply 
this, that mythology is the result of man's childlike and simple considerations 
of the world around us. If I may quote from a passage in a note on page 
57 of the essay, I would say, 

" Prof. Jebb well observes, ' There was a time when they [i.e. archaic 
men] had begun to speak of the natural powers as persons, and yet had not 
forgotten that they were really natural powers, and that the personal names 

That, I take it, was the simple primitive origin of mythology, and that is 
what I mean by calling it the younger sister of religion. The great point 
which this paper aims at is, to show that mankind began well. That is our 
fundamental doctrine as Christians. However the book of Genesis may be 
understood, it certainly lays down most precisely that man began well. If 
that position can ever be turned, and it can be shown that man began badly, or 
as a being evolved out of some lower form of life, with no knowledge of God 
or of religion at all, but that he was a creature moving about in a world half 
realized, then the position of Christianity would be turned ; but I am as 
certain of the fact as that I am here, that this can never be shown, and that 
the position of Christianity is impregnable. It is my wish to set forth that 
as far as we can extend our researches into these early records side by side 
with the Bible, we find them in perfect harmony with the Biblical state- 
ments. I am exceedingly obliged to the meeting for the manner in which 
they have listened to my paper, and especially to Mr. James for his 
kindly remarks. 

The meeting was then adjourned. 

Clje Rctoria 


|)ljila$op|)kal Jtetg 0f irtat 


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ARE COUNTRY AND FOREIGN MEMBERS) ; including His Grace the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury and other Prelates and leading Ministers of Religion, Professors of English and 
Foreign Universities, Literary and Scientific Men in general, and others favourable to the 
Objects. (The present average annual increase is upwards of a hundred. ) 


President. The Right Honourable the EARL OF SHAFTESBURY, K.G. 

The Right Honourable the EARL OF HARROWBY, K.G. 



W. FORSYTE, Esq., Q.C., LL.D., M.P. Rev. Principal T. P. BOULTBEE, LL.D. 

Honorary Correspondents. 
Professor G. G. STOKES, F.R.S., Camb. Principal J. W. DAWSON, LL.D., F.R.S. 


Professor K. A. WURTZ, F.R.S. (Pres.of the Assoc. of France for the Advancement of Science). 
Professor JOACHIM BARRANDE, Prague; Professor 0. HEER, Zurich. 

Honorary Treasurer. WILLIAM No WELL WEST, Esq. 
Hon. See. and Editor of Journal. Captain F. W. H. PETRIE, F.G.S., F.R.S.L , &c. 

J. A. ERASER, Esq., M.D., I.G.H. 

H. CADMAN JONES, Esq., Barrister-at-Law. 

Rev. W. ARTHUR, D.D. 

C. R. BREE, Esq., M.D., F.Z.S., &o. 


E. J. MORSHEAD, Esq., H.M.C.S.,#ow. -Fbr.'J Rev. G. W. WELDON, M.A., B.M. 
ALFRED V. NEWTON, Esq. [C'or. s Rev. Principal J. ANGUS, M.A., D.D. 

S. D. WADDY, Esq., Q.C., M.P. O J. BATEMAN, Esq., F.R.S., F.L.S. 



Rev. J. H. RIGG, D.D., President Wes. Conf. \ Professor H. A. NICHOLSON, M.D.,F.R.S.E. 
Rev. Prebendary Row, M.A. L F. B. HAWKINS, M.D., F.R.S. 

ROBERT BAXTER, Esq. (Trustee). 
Vice- Admiral E. G. FISHBOURNE, C.B. 
R. N. FOWLER, Esq. (Trustee). 
WILLIAM H. INCE, Esq., F.L.S., F.R.M.S. 


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MEMBERS on election, are presented with any Volume of the First or Second 
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The Journal is arranged so as to secure its special useful- 
ness to Country and Foreign Members and Associates (who 
form two-thirds of the Institute). 

The Journal contains the Papers read at the 
Meetings, and the Discussions thereon. 

Before they are published in the Journal, the papers themselves, and 
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Since the Inauguration of the Society, on the 24th of May, 1866, the following 
Papers have been read : The Quarterly Parts of the Journal are indicated by the 
numbers prefixed. (The volumes are sold at One Guinea to Non-Members ; Half-a- 
Guinea to Members and Associates.} 

VOL. I. 

1. A Sketch of the Existing Eolations between Scripture and Science. By the late 


2. On the Difference in Scope between Scripture and Science. By the late C. MouNTFORD 

BURNETT, Esq., M.D., Vice- President V.I. 

On Comparative Philology. By the Rev. ROBINSON THORNTON, D.D., Vice-President V.I. 
On the Various Theories of Man's Past and Present Condition. By the late JAMES REDDIE, 

Esq., Hon. Sec. V.I. 

3. On the Language of Gesticulation and Origin of Speech. By Professor J. R. YOUNG. 

On Miracles: their Compatibility with Philosophical Principles. By the Rev. W. W. 


Thoughts on Miracles. By the late E. B. PENNY, Esq. 

On the General Character of Geological Formations. By the late E. HOPKINS, Esq., C.E. 
4. On the Past and Present Relations of Geological Science to the Sacred Scriptures. By the 

Rev. Professor JOHN KIRK. 

On the Lessons taught us bv Geology in relation to God. Rev. J. BRODIE, M.A. 

On the Mutual Helpfulness "of Theology and Natural Science. By Dr. GLADSTONE, F.R.S. 

On Falling Stars and Meteorites. By the late Rev. W. MITCHELL, M.A., Vice-President V.I. 

(The above Papers, with the Discussions thereon, and with " Scientia Scientiarum ; 

being some Account of the Origin and Objects of the Victoria Institute," with the 

Reports of the Provisional Proceedings, and the Inaugural Address by the late 

Rev. Walter Mitchell, M.A., Vice-President, form Volume I. of the "Journal." 


5. ^On the Terrestrial Changes and Probable Ages of the Continents, founded upon Astronomical 

Data and Geological Facts. By the lace EVAN HOPKINS, Esq., C.E., F.G.S. 
On the Credibility of Darwinism. By the late GEORGE WARINGTON, Esq., F.C.S. 
On the Credibility of Darwinism. By the late JAMES REDDIE, Esq., Hon. Sec. V.I. 
On Utilitarianism. By the late JAMES REDDIE, Esq., Hon. Sec. V.I. 
On the Logic of Scepticism. By the Rev. ROBINSON THORNTON, D.D., V.P. 
Annual Address (On the Institute's Work). By the late JAMES REDDIE, Esq., Hon. Sec. V.I. 


On the Relations of Metaphysical and Physical Science to the Christian Doctrine of 

Prayer. By the Rev. Professor JOHN KIRK. 
On Geological Chronology, and the Cogency of the Arguments by which some Scientific 

Doctrines are supported. (lu reply to Professor Huxley's Address delivered at Sion 

College on 21st Nov., 1867.) By the late J. REDDIE, Esq., Hon. Sec. V.I. (1867-68). 
On the Gt^.-m'trical Isomorphism of Crystals, and the Derivation of all other Forms from 

those of the Cubical System. (6 Plates.) By the late Rev. W. MITCHELL, M.A., V.P. 



9. On the Antiquity of Civilization. By the Right Rev. Bishop TITCOMB, D.D. 

On Life, with some Observations on its Origin. By J. H. WHEATLEY, Esq., Ph.D. 

On the Unphilosophical Character of some Objections to the Divine Inspiration of Scripture. 

By the late Rev. WALTER MITCHELL, M.A., Vice-President V.I. 
On Comparative Psychology. By E. J. MORSHEAD, Esq., Hon. For. Sec. V.I. 

10. On Theology as a Science. By the Rev. A. DE LA MARE, M. A. 

On the Immediate Derivation of Science from the Great First Cause. By R. LAMING, Fsq. 

On some of the Philosophical Principles contained in Mr. Buckle's "History of Civiliza- 
tion," in reference to the Laws of the Moral and Religious Developments of Man. By 
the Rev. Prebendary C. A. Row, M.A. 

On the Nature of Human Language, the Necessities of Scientific Phraseology, and the 
Application of the Principles of both to the Interpretation of Holy Scripture. By 
the Rev. J. BAYLEE, D.D. 

11. On the Common Origin of the American Races with those of the Old World. By the Right 

Rev. Bishop TITCOMB, D.D. 

On the Simplification of First Principles in Physical Science. By C. BROOKE, Esq. , F. R.S., &c. 
On the Biblical Cosmogony scientifically considered. By late G. WARINGTON, Esq., F.C.S. 
On Ethical Philosophy. By the Rev. W. W. ENGLISH, M.A 

12. On some Uses of Sacred Primeval History. By the late D. McCAUSLAND, Esq., Q.C., LL.D. 
On the Relation of Reason to Philosophy, Theology, and Revelation. By the Rev. Pre- 
bendary C. A. Row, M.A. 


13. Analysis of Human Responsibility. By the Rev. Prebendary IRONS, D.D. (And part 16. 
On the Doctrine of Creation according to Darwin, Agassiz, and Moses. By Prof. KlRK. 

14. On the Noachian Deluge. By the Rev. M. DAVISON. 
On Life Its Origin. By J. H. WHEATLEY, Esq., Ph.D. 

On Man's Place in Creation. By the late Professor MACDONALD, M.D. 

15. On More than One Universal Deluge recorded in Scripture. By Rev. H. MOTTLE, M.A. 

On Certain Analogies between the Methods of Deity in Nature and Revelation. By the 

Rev. G. HENSLOW, M.A., F.L.S. 
On the Respective Provinces of the Observer and the Reasoner in Scientific Investigation. 

On the Credulity of Scepticism. By the Rev. R. THORNTON, D.D., V.P. 

16. On Current Physical Astronomy. By the late J. REDDIE, Esq., Hon. Sec. V.I. 
Analysis of Human Responsibility. By Rev. Preb. IRONS, D.D. (See part 13.) Concluded. 

VOL. V. 

17. On the Origin of the Negro. By the Right Rev. Bishop TITCOMB, D.D. 

On the Testimony of Philosophy to Christianity as a Moral and Spiritual Revelation. By 

the Rev. Prebendary C. A. Row, M.A. 
On the Numerical System of the Old Testament. By the Rev. Dr. THORNTON, V.P, 

18. On Spontaneous Generation ; or, the Problem of Life. By the Rev. Professor KlRK. 
A Demonstration of the Existence of God. By the Rev. J. M'CANN, D.D. 

Why Man must Believe in God. By the late .JAMES REDDIE, Esq., Hon. Sec. V.I, 

19. On Geological Proofs of Divine Action. By S. R. PATTISON, Esq . F.G.S 
On True Anthropology. By W. HITCHMAN, Esq., M.D. 

On Comparative Psychology. (Second Paper.) By E. J. MORSHEAD, Esq., Hon. For. Sec. V.I. 

20. On the High Numbers in the Pentateuch. By P. H. GOSSE, Esq., F.R.S , V P 
Israel in Egypt. By the Rev. H. MOULE, M.A. 


21. On Civilization, Moral and Material. (Also in Reply to Sir John Lubbock on "Primitive 

Man.") By the late J. REDDIE, Esq., Hon. Sec. V.I. (1869-70.) 
On Dr. Newman's "Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent." By the Rev. Preb. Row, M.A. 

22. On the Evidence of the Egyptian Monuments to the Sojourn of Israel in Egypt. By the 

Rev. B. W. SAVILE, M.A. 

On The Moabite Stone, by Captain F. PETRIE, Hon. Sec. 
On Phyllotaxis ; or, the Arrangement of Leaves in Accordance with Mathematical Laws. 

By the Rev. G. HENSLOW, M.A., F.L.S. 
On Prehistoric Monotheism, considered in relation to Man as an Aboriginal Savage. By 

the Right Rev. Bishop TITCOMB, D.D. (1871-72.) 

23. On Biblical Pneumatology and PsychoJogy. By the Rev. W. W. ENGLISH, M.A. 
On Some Scriptural Aspects of Man's Tripartite Nature. By the Rev. C. GRAHAM. 
On Ethnic Testimonies to the Pentateuch. By the Right Rev. Bishop TITCOMB, D.D. 

24. On the Darwinian Theory. By the Rev. Prebendary IRONS. D.D. 

Serpent Myths of Ancient Egypt. By W. R. COOPER, Esq!, late Sec. Soc. '-Biblical Archae- 
ology, 129 Illustrations. 




25. On Natural Theology, considered with respect to Modern Philosophy. By the Rev. G. 

On Fatalism. Contributed by the Rev. J. BOBBINS, D.D. 

26. On Darwinism Tested by Recent Researches in Language. Ey F. BATEMAN, Esq. , M.D., &c. 
On Force and its Manifestations. By the Rev. J. M'CANN, D.D. 

On Professor TyndalTs " Fragments of Science for Unscientific People." By the Rev. 

Prebendary IRONS. D.D. 

On the Origin of the Moral Sense. By the Rev. Professor KiRK. 
On Force and Energy. By CHARLES BROOKE, Esq., M.A., F.R.S., V.P. 

27. On Darwinism and its Effects upon Religious Thought. By C. R. BREE, Esq., M.D., &c. 
Remarks on some of the Current Principles of Historic Criticism. By Rev. Preb. Row, M.A. 
On "Scientific Facts and Christian Evidence." By J.ELIOT HOWARD, Esq., F.R.S.,F.L.S. 

28. On the " Law of Creation Unity of Plan, Variety of Form." By Rev. G. W. WELDON, M.A. 

Some Remarks on the Present Aspect of Enquiries as to the Introduction of Genera and 
Species in Geological Time. By Principal J. W. DAWSON, LL.D., F.R.S. 


29. The Paleolithic Age Examined. By N. WHITLEY, Esq. 

(Annual Address.) On the Moral and Social Anarchy of Modern Unbelief. By the Rev. 
Principal T. P. BOULTBEE, LL.D., Vice-President. 

30. On the Identity of Reason in Science and Religion. Rev. R. MITCHELL. 

On Buddhism. By the Right Rev. Bishop PIERS C. CLAUGHTON, D.D., &c., with communi- 
cations from Professors CHANDLER and BREWER. 
On the Contrast between Crystallization and Life. By JOHN ELIOT HOWARD, Esq., F.R.S. 

31. On the Brixham Cavern and its Testimony to the Antiquity of Man examined. By N. 

WHITLEY, Esq., Sec. Royal Inst. of Cornwall. 
On the Rules of Evidence as applicable to the Credibility of History. By W. FORSYTH, 

Esq., Q.C., LL.D., M.P., Vice-President. 
On the Principles of Modern Pantheistic and Atheistic Philosophy as expressed in the last 

work of Strauss, Mill, &c. By the Rev. Prebendary C. A. Row, M.A. Paper on the 

same, by Professor CHALLIS, F.R.S. 

32. On " Prehistoric Traditions and Customs in Connection with Sun and Serpent Worship." 

J. S. PHEN, Esq., LL.D., F.S.A., with Illustrations. (1872-73.) 


33. On the Varying Tactics of Scepticism. (Annual Address.) By the Rev. ROBINSON 

THORNTON, D.D., Vice-President. 
Ou the Harmony between the Chronology of Egypt and the Bible. By the Rev. B. W. 


On the Ethical Condition of the Early Scandinavian Peoples. By E. W. GOSSE, Esq. 
31. On Magnitudes in Creation and their bearings on Biblical Interpretation. By the Right 
Rev. Bishop TITCOMB, D.D. Paper on the same, by Professor CHALLIS, F.R.S. ; with 
communications from the Astronomer Royal's Department, the Radclifi'e Observer and 
Professor Pritchard, F.R.S. 
On Biblical Interpretation in connection with Science. By the Rev. A. I. McCAUL, M.A. 

(King's College), with a communication by Principal J.'W. DAWSON, LL.D., F.R.S. 
On the Final Cause as Principle of Cognition and Principle in Nature. By Professor G. S. 
MORRIS, of Michigan University, U.S. 

35. On the Bearing of certain Palaeontological Facts upon the Darwinian Theory of the Origin 

of Species, and of Evolution in General. By Professor H. A. NICHOLSON. M.D D Sc 

F.G.S., &c. 
On the Early Dawn of Civilization, considered in the Light of Scripture. By J. E. HOWARD, 

Esq., F.R.S. 
On the Indestructibility of Force. By the Rev. Professor BlRKS, M.A. 

36. On Mr. Mill's Essays on Theism. By Rev. Preb. W. J. IRONS, D.D. 


VOL. X. 

37. On the Chronology of Recent Geology. By S. R. PATTISON, Esq. , F. G. S. 

On the Nature and Character of Evidence for Scientific Purposes. By the Rev. 

J. M'CANN, D.D. 
The Relation of the Scripture Account of the Deluge to Physical Science. By Professor 

CHALLIS, M.A., F.R.S., F.R.A.S. 

38. An Examination of the Belfast Address from a Scientific point of view. By J. E. HOWARD, 

Esq., F.R.S. 

/Annual Address: Modern Philosophic Scepticism examined. By the late Rev. R. MAIN, 
V F. R. S. , V. P. R. A. S. , The Radcliffe Observer. 
On the Etruscan Language. By the Rev. ISAAC TAYLOR, M.A. 

39. On " Present Day Materialism." By the Rev. J. McDouGALL. 

On the Sorrows of Scepticism. By Rev. R. THORNTON, D.D.. Vice-Pros, (see parts 6, 15, 33). 
On Heathen Cosmogonies, compared with the Hebrew. By Rev. B. W. SAVII.E, M.A. 
On the Place of Science in Education. By Professor H. A. NICHOLSON, M.D. 

40. I On Egypt and the Bible. By J. E. HOWARD, Esq., F.R.S. 


41. The Flint " Implements " of Brixham Cavern. By N. WHITLEY, Esq. (Photographically 

illustrated. ) 

On The Flint Agricultural Implements of America. By Dr. J. W. DAWSON, F.R.S. (1876-7.) 
An Examination of " The Unseen Universe." Rev. Preb. IRONS, D.D. 
The Uncertainties of Modern Physical Science. By Professor BIRKS. 
The Ethics of Belief. By Professor H. WAGE, M.A. (1876-7.) 

42. On the Metaphysics of Scripture. By Professor CHALLIS, M. A., F.R.S., F.R.A.S. 

On the Theory of Unconscious Intelligence as opposed to Theism. By Prof. MORRIS, U.S.A. 
On the Myth of Ra. By W. R. COOPER, Esq., F.R.A.S., M.R.A.S., Sec. Soc. Bib. Arch. 
On Christianity as a Moral Power. By Professor LIAS, St. David's College, Lampeter. 

43. On the Structure of Geological Formations as Evidence of Design. By D. HOWARD, F.C.S. 
On the Bible and Modern Astronomy. By Prof. BIRKS (Camb.). 

44. On Comparative Psychology. By E. J. MORSHEAD, Esq. 



On the Indestructibility of Matter. By Rev. Professor CHALLIS, M.A., F.R.S., F.R.A.S. 
On History in the Time of Abraham, Illustrated by Recent Researches. By Rev. H. G. 

TOMKINS. With Numerous Notes by various Assyriologists. 
On the Horus Myth. By W. R. COOPER, Esq., F.R.A.S., M.R.A.S., Sec. Soc. Bib. Arch. 

(Illustrated}. Additional Papers by various Egyptologists. (1875-6.) 

The Influence of True and False Philosophy. (Ann. Address.) J. E. HOWARD, Esq., F.R.S. 
The History of the Alphabet. By Rev. ISAAC TAYLOR, M.A. 
Creation and Providence. By J. E. HOWARD, Esq., F.R.S. 
Nature's Limits ; an Argument for Theism. By S. R. PATTISON, Esq., F.G S. 
Mr. Matthew Arnold and Modern Culture. Prof. LIAS, St. David's Coll., Lampeter. 
On the Relation of Scientific Thought to Religion. The Ri^ht Rev. BISHOP COTTERILL, D.D. 
Monotheism. By the Rev. Dr. RULE (Author of " Oriental Records"^. 
Physical Geography of the East. By Professor J. L. PORTER, D.D., LL.D.^ 

(Volume XII. published in January.1879.) 

* - 

_ _ 

NOTE From the 1879 Beport AS TO THE " PEOPLE'S EDITION'S." 

" A PEOPLE'S EDITION of some few papers has been issued, it is much used by 
lecturers, and its popularity is very encouraging. 

" LECTURES. In many places, at home and abroad, the papers in the Journal continue 
to be used, both by Members and Non-members, as the basis of lectures ; and several 
letters have been received commending them as being just what were needed. One 
most active and popular lecturing Member writes : " Without them I should be 
unable to give my lectures ;" another says, " Had it not been for the publications of 
the Institute I should never have read a paper on such a subject." (In this case the 
audience, a metropolitan one, among whom were 300 clergymen, requested the publi- 
cation of the lecture). The works of Reference in the Library are also utilized by 
Members giving lectures ; and every effort is made with a view of rendering the 
Organization of the Institute as useful as possible." 



FE6 2T989 



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